Turner's Public Spirit, April 14, 1923
A look back in time to a century ago
By Bob Oliphant
Center. The Grange neighbored with Bedford Grange on Monday evening, and with Chelmsford Grange furnished the entertainment of the evening. The following numbers were given by the local Grange: Music, kitchen orchestra; vocal solos, Mrs. Nora Colburn; piano solo, Miss Freda Johnson; reading Gladys Ingalls. Forty-four members from Westford Grange attended.
A string quartet from Gordon college will be present at the evangelistic meeting on Friday evening. The musicians are Miss Helen Blackwell, Miss Eleanor Mackenzie, James H. Megahan and Henning E. Danielson. Mr. Danielson has just witnessed a remarkable revival in his church in Peterboro, N.H., and will speak on the theme, “What God did in Peterboro.” Mr. Murphy and Miss Reid will be present again on Saturday evening. This is Graniteville night and a large delegation, including Rev. William Anderson, is expected. On Sunday evening Mr. Comy will be the speaker. His conversion has been recent, and he has had an experience with both God and the devil that gives his message a peculiar power. Not less wonderful is Mr. Comy’s talent as a musician. He will play for the song service and also some special selections. In addition, the Misses Alice and Edith Morse will sing. All these special meetings are held at 7:30. Other Sunday services at the usual hour.
Mrs. Flora Edwards and daughter Rita have taken occupancy of the Seavey tenement on Main street. Mrs. Edwards’ father, Wiley Wright, is to reside with her.
Roy Keiser and family have rented the Sullivan house on Main street, formerly the home of the late Henry Colburn.
Hanson M. Savage, president of the Wetmore-Savage Co., of Boston, dropped dead in that city on Tuesday. Mr. Wetmore, another member of the firm, is the owner of Nashoba farm, and during Mr. Wetmore’s residence in town Mr. Savage was his guest on several occasions.
George F. White, who has been conducting a dairy farm and selling the milk in Lowell and in town, had an auction on Wednesday and disposed of a large herd of cattle.
Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Kendall have taken charge of the town home taking the place of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ripley, resigned.
An all-day meeting of the Alliance was held at the Unitarian church on Thursday.
An all-day session of the Ladies’ Aid of the Congregational church was held at the home of Mrs. Warren Hanscom on Thursday.
“Nature’s Magazine” has just been added to the number of periodicals which can be borrowed from the Fletcher library [paper torn, line or two missing] magazine, well illustrated with pictures of animal, bird and plant life. Some books on the same subject which should be of interest at this season are “Everyday adventures,” by Samuel Scoville, a book of rare delight with the very health of the woods in it, and there are other splendid books.
William A. Bazeley, of Boston, chairman of the conservation commission, will speak at the Congregational church on Tuesday evening, April 24, at eight o’clock. His subject will be “The reforesting of Massachusetts.” The conservation committee of the Tadmuck club, Mrs. Frank C. Wright, chairman, is in charge of this meeting, and the public is invited to attend.
The little folks were at the town hall in goodly number on Tuesday afternoon to see Coco, the health clown. The affair was under the auspices of the Tadmuck club.
Mrs. W. W. Johnson, of the Westford depot section, has been ill with laryngitis.
About Town. The first thunder-lightning shower of the season on last week Thursday evening and the annual chorus singing of the frogs were a most welcome change from the song singing of zero, which we never were heated up enough over to applaud.
The Old Oaken Bucket farm has sown an acre of spring wheat, and the Morning Glory farm adjoining has an acre of winter wheat and winter vetch, and thus will the price of wheat drop as the result of this prospective acreage. Watch the market quotations.
The Morning Glory farm planted first early peas last Saturday. The Old Oaken Bucket farm was close on his heels, or would have been close on his heels, but the aforesaid Morning Glory farmer lost his heels plowing the land. Such is some of the spry speed that is going on in some spots of the Stony Brook valley. The sun would be obscured with dust if the ground was in dust condition.
We have got to reverse some of our youthful opinion in regard to what season of the year is the healthiest, winter or summer. When the bloom was on our cheeks and the frost was on the pumpkin, it was nearly unanimous that winter was by far the healthiest, but now come statistics to show that summer is far ahead as a health resort, and that August is the healthiest month in the year. This winter has lost its rip as the healthiest season of the year and given us another grippe and influenza, bronchitis and asthma pneumonia, and several brands of toothaches, headaches, many of which were unknown to the rosy-cheeked infancy youth of old Stony Brook school days.
Winter has not quite lost its hang-on-grip. Monday morning it made water cool off to a half an inch.
Last week a fox of the lynx variety crawled up onto the roof of the piazza at the Phillips house with evident intention of breaking, entering and larceny. He became frightened at the footsteps of human beings and descended without looking for an elevator.
The Department of Conservation, division of fisheries and game, has just issued a poster and posted it, stating that cats kill two million birds in the state every year, and asks the cooperation of all lovers of birds to keep their cats under better restraint during the nesting season, especially at night. Basing conclusions upon the estimates in the state it is estimated that five billion birds are killed annually in this country. But for all this when the friends of the birds in an attempt to minimize the killing of birds by cats appeared before the legislature for a bill to license the keeping of cats, they were laughed at and ridiculed out of the state house. “He laughs best who doesn’t laugh at all, sometimes.”
Middlesex-North Pomona Grange held a fully attended and fully interesting meeting on last week Friday. The morning session was occupied with community quartet chorus singing; history of the Pomona Grange, George W. Trull, of Tewksbury, and Fred L. Fletcher, of Chelmsford; address, Deputy Dummer, Wrenham [sic], and Edward F. Dickinson, of Billerica, and Norman L. Peavy, of Dracut, followed by “What I have been reading recently” by someone else. In the afternoon an address was given by Prof. Waugh, of Amherst, on “Forestry.” He clearly warned all against the ill effects of reckless destruction of forests and pointed out a systematic method of reforestization [sic]. After this there were readings by Mrs. Nellie Bennett and Mrs. Sims, of Burlington, and dancing and readings by Priscila Richardson of Burlington. The fifth degree was worked in the evening in charge of Mrs. Ethel Fletcher, of Westford, and inspection by Deputy Goodwin of Melrose.
Mrs. Kate G. Martin, of Lowell, announces the engagement of her granddaughter, Miss Priscilla Kennard, to Ralph A. Fletcher, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert E. Fletcher, Oak hill. Miss Kennard is a member of the 1916-17 Sewing Circle. Mr. Fletcher was graduated from Technology with the class of 1916 and served in the world war in the naval aviation. The wedding will take place on May 19.
William R. Carver is cutting off the large chestnut lot that was reserved from the sale of the Old Homestead. David W. Sherman has charge of cutting and handling the lot.
Daniel H. Sheehan, who owns large plantations in Texas, North Carolina and Virginia, has added another large cotton plantation in Georgia of several thousand acres, where he plans to raise cotton and ship it north to his cotton, woolen, cider and vinegar mill located right here in his native town on Tadmuck brook. As part of the Old Oaken Bucket farm faces this aesthetic cotton conglomeration mill we are planning on selling building lots to prospective tenants, several hundred, we are informed.
Charles A. Lull died at this home in West Chelmsford last Saturday, aged 68 years, 2 months, 23 days, following a brief illness from pneumonia. He was born in Utica, N.H., and had made his home in that state most of his life. He had resided in West Chelmsford for the past fifteen years and was familiar to the traveling public as the flagman at the railroad station. He was unusually loved for his quiet and unobtrusive ways, and ready and entertaining conversation from his varied and extensive reading. Besides his wife, Jennie A., he leaves a brother, Frank E. Lull, of Lowell, and a step-son, Luzerne Safford, West Chelmsford.
The next meeting of the Grange will be held on Thursday, April 19, when the third and fourth degrees will be conferred, the third degree by the ladies’ degree team.
Society in Washington and elsewhere was surprised when it became known that Mrs. Constance Gardner, wife of the late Congressman Augustus P Gardner, and daughter of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, was married on April 8 to Major General Clarence C. Williams of the U.S.A. The marriage took place at St. John church by Rev. Robert Johnson (the church of the president). Her former husband, Congressman Gardner, enrolled for the world war and died in a southern camp. He was an ardent and consistent advocate of preparedness, and in his death we lost a large bunch of American common sense.
On March 31 Elizabeth Amanda Kittredge, of this town, was united in marriage to Herbert L. Whittemore, of Baltimore. The ceremony took place at the Unitarian church in Baltimore, Rev. Harry F. Burns officiating. Mr. Whittemore is in the employ of the government in the Bureau of Standards, and prior to being Mrs. Whittemore the bride had achieved distinction in the study of medicine and is pleasantly remembered in this town, her native place, as one of the reliable and bright assets of the social, educational and church life of the town. Mr. and Mrs. Whittemore will make their home in Baltimore.
The Morning Glory farm will have twenty bushels of potatoes distributed in the ground before you read this, and the Old Oaken Bucket farm adjoining is pressing a close race with twenty bushels more. Only the dampness of the ground keeps them visible to clear sighted people, otherwise neither could be seen for the dust they would stir up. Both are planning on planting an acre of sweet corn next week and the upheaval of speed is still in its infancy—hasn’t got fully under headway yet.
The Read-Drew farm [164 Main St.] are setting out an acre of apple trees this spring. I have been informed that prior to this they had 6000 apple trees set out, and now the whole farm is being covered except the lowlands for hay. This is the correct principle of farming, concentrated enough on some line of farming, so that you will know some one branch of farming thoroughly to a success and double in all kinds of farming so ignorantly inefficiently about forty percent knowledge scattered over everything and everywhere and sixty percent of ignorance on everything and everywhere, and no command of the market for lack of enough of any one things to be worth bidding for. A scattered aim never hit any mark yet.
- L. Taylor has sold to W. R. Taylor [his son] the Read land of six acres on the Stony Brook road, Frances hill, directly opposite the residence of W. R. Taylor. This lot is bounded on the south by the second oldest road in town, and in the palmy days of the old Stony Brook school this road ran just north of the schoolhouse, which sat in a triangle of roads, and in those days there was much travel on these three roads, and the scholars were called down for standing up and looking out of the window every time a team passed by them or any other breach of the birch rod rule, for the seats were low and the windows were high, and it was too much of a rubber-neck act to look out without rising. The lower half of this lot will be set to apple and peach trees and the huckleberry trees and other smaller forest trees are being mined by the swinging power of a bush scythe. The small white pines are being taken up and set out to beautify the cataracts on Tadmuck brook. I cannot afford to preach forestry and practice destruction.
The new snow-plow scraper is being used to level off the roads and filing up the deep ruts. It has done excellent work on the Lowell road and done it as speedily as potato planting along the Lowell road. It is later planned to attach to the motor a trailer for hauling gravel.
The Chamberlin road, close by Brookside, is in need of a gravel trailer and a ditch. Having occasion to haul a load over it recently I thought of the old saying that a chain is no stronger than its weakest link; so a road is only as easy to haul over as its muddiest spot. Also as I am in a suggestive mood, that the Lowell road, beyond the residence of Miss Ella Wright, is much in need of having some gravel trailed there.
Matthew McNaughton and Paul Smith of West Chelmsford are cutting paving stone on the Prescott lot on Forest road for Frank Mallory, of North Chelmsford.
And now comes Hollis, N.H., and says “The partridge is budding the apple trees seriously.” Well, now, seriously, the Old Oaken Bucket farm would consider it a personal favor and pleasure if the partridge would do some budding at the aforesaid farm, for two reasons; first, I love to see the darlings at work budding trees or playing with their young in the leaves on Frances hill, or hear them drum when in the playful mood of nature. A second reason why I should like to have them do some budding at the Old Oaken Bucket farm is that it would help reduce the quantity of apples that grow right under the shadow of the forests on Frances hill. Here in particular are two golden russet trees which blossom so full that the green leaves are hardly visible, and recently I sent some of the best to Boston and received twelve cents a bushel after paying expenses. When I got these returns I said right out loud to myself and shadow, “Oh, for the partridge to bud these trees up to fifty cents a bushel.”
During the thunder and lightning storm of last week Thursday evening the Mann vocational school in Lowell was struck by lightning and burned about $15,000 worth. The slate roof made it difficult for the firemen to reach portions of the interior of the building.
Stony Brook Valley, long known as such, could appropriately be changed to Moving Valley, such has been the contagious epidemic in the valley for spring moving. The Perkins family have moved from the Cold Spring road to North Chelmsford, and Wilford Whitten family, living in the Lybeck house, have moved into the house vacated by the Perkins family. The Pollock family, living at the Fletcher Cold Spring farm the past few years, have moved to Hingham. Mr. and Mrs. Willard Moore have moved from single life to married life and take charge of the Fletcher Cold Spring farm vacated by the Pollock family. George O’Brien has moved from his blacksmith trade at Westford station to his farm at Pond brook in southeast Westford. The Charles S. Ripley family have moved from the town home, where they have been caring for those who couldn’t care for themselves, into the Charles E. Whidden house at Westford station, and Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Kendall have moved from Parkerville to the town home. There are others in the Stony Brook movies who claim that they are going to move into the home just as fast at they can get there.
Mrs. Julia Bennett Holt died on Sunday, April 1, at the home of her daughter in Lowell, Mrs. Charles H. Wing (Ella Bennett), aged 86 years and 2 months. She leaves besides her daughter, a son, Frederic S. Holt, of Queens, N.Y., and two grandsons. Mrs. Holt is still most pleasantly remembered in town, where she lived for many years, as well as her daughter, by a former marriage [to Robert Bennett], pleasantly remembered as Ella Bennett. Mrs. Holt was of a happy and joyful temperament and ready to mingle with all helpful and healthy social influences, and with her daughter was a regular attendant at the Unitarian church. Her husband, Henry Holt, who died several years ago, will be pleasantly remembered for his efficiency, diligence and reliability, and born beneath the shadows of Nashobah hill on the farm now occupied by Henry J. Murphy.
Back-log dance, April 19, Littleton town hall. Leo Hannan’s orchestra.
First Parish church (Unitarian)—Sunday service at 4 p.m. Preacher, Rev. Frank B. Crandall, minister. Subject, “The water from the rock.”
Farmers’ Institute. The last farmers’ institute of the season met in the town hall on Wednesday, March 28. The program as carried out was helpful, and the only disappointing feature and discouraging feature was the lack of a responsive audience in numbers proportional to the vitality of the subjects, “Forestry” and “Wild life of the woods and streams.” Two causes thinned down the size of the attendance. It was a cold, blustering, bitter, biting day, with snow squalls and other squalls like unto below zero.
Mr. Tillson of the Farm Bureau was the first speaker on “Appleology.” By the attention paid it evidently was good advice, but I was unable to drum any of it into my ears on account of the drummers being off on a vacation. Mr. Kenney followed on “Forestry.” As he distributed some missionary tracts on “Pine blister,” I wish to quote a little for those who were not able to be blown to the institute by the blizzard snow squalls.
First, it is not contiguous from one tree to another by the limbs touching (I have proved this at the Old Oaken Bucket farm). Second, pull up all currant and gooseberry bushes that are within 900 feet of white pine orchards, whether there be one or no more pines in the orchards, for currant and gooseberry bushes are the germinating sources of the white pine rust or blister. These blister germs cannot survive transportation through the air for over a distance of 900 feet without meeting death from starvation or perhaps shot by someone mistaking them for budding partridges.
The black currant is far more threatening than the red. In rooting out the currants, all the roots must be got out or else you will have sprouts to mow. Listen to the cost of clearing an acre of the pine blister rust germs. I quote right out loud in meeting and run the chance of being a disturber of harmonies: “The cost of uprooting currant and gooseberry bushes varies from $10 to $200 per acre, depending on local conditions, but has averaged fifty-one cents per acre on over a million acres cleared of these bushes since 1917.” Say, mister, what wages do you pay in clearing an acre of these bushes—ten cents a day or fifty cents an hour in order to get an acre cleared for ten cents?
In some states the cultivated black currants are the most susceptible in spreading the white pine rust blister. It is unlawful to sell or plant this variety of currants. Well, isn’t this pretty close to an infringement of personal liberty when we cannot set out a currant? To hear the shouting and thundering against national prohibition that all the infringement against personal liberty that ever was or would or could be was concentrated in prohibition, the personal liberty to get drunk, and yet almost every day in every way there are many phases of currant bush prohibition. If currant bush prohibition is for the public good and rum prohibition is for the public good, the principles involved are one and the same. Why accept one without a murmur of opposition, and search heaven, earth and the other country in an effort to overthrow its enforcement when the principle involved is the public good as against personal liberty? Be consistent with your drunken liberty nonsense.
The address on “Wild life of our woods and streams” was pointed enough to stir up a good-natured cross-examination with Joseph Wall, our fish and game warden, as chief cross-examiner, and facts and truth were vindicated.
The last speaker of the morning session was Gilbert F. Wright, of Chelmsford, well remembered as a native of this town where he spent the first eighteen year of his life; four years in the old Stony Brook school district, where he was born, and fourteen years in Westford Center, where he went to the old No. 1 school and Westford academy in 1870. Mr. Wright had on exhibition potatoes from planting in November, peanuts, almonds, beans that stand eight below zero, and grain alfalfa in sample packages to give away and much else that slipped our thinking apparatus. He advocated, and wisely so, the raising of more nuts on our rocky waste land. Nuts are as nutritious as meat, of which we are eating altogether too much, or to state it in his own words, “Let us get away from our cannibalism, too much salt pork and old hens.” He wisely advocated the using of our waste lands, of which we have several million acres in Massachusetts, unless it is assumed that where it takes ten acres to keep a cow is not waste compared with what it is possible to produce. On this land Mr. Wright advocated and urged the raising of nut foods and other easily raised substitutes for excess “cannibalism food” as he termed it. At the close of his address he was applauded with enthusiasm.
After-dinner wit, wisdom and brave throat facts were liberated by Rev. William H. Anderson, F. A. Hanscom, George W. Trull of Tewksbury, Mr. Tillson of the Farm Bureau and Mr. Kenney, the white pine orator, and possibly others that memory fails to nudge me to remember. There was also some song singing by Miss Hazel Tuthill, of Lowell, which inspired many of the applause kind.
Mr. Dickinson, of Billerica, gave the afternoon address on “Things seen, heard and thought in my winter vacation in Washington.”
To Plant a Forest. A state forest is to be developed on some 1500 acres of the interior of Martha’s Vineyard. It will among other uses serve as a cover to protect the last remnants of the heath hens which have survived on the island, the only examples, if we remember right, of this species left in North America. Young pines and heath chicks on what is now a desolate tract of scrub oaks will look attractive to the Vineyard’s many summer boarders. I am delighted to report that this movement and many others is a healthy and economical spread effort to recover back to nature what we have so savagely and wastefully hacked into. The heath hen was once abundant and prolific nearly all over the United States, harmless and domestic in its habits without the apple tree budding propensity of the partridge. This small remnant of what is left of the heath hen is a rebuke to our indiscriminate folly and a lasting monument to the memory of our cruelty. How have we lost the aesthetic view of forest and bird to such an extent that everything must be turned into cash or guzzled down in food? The widespread destruction of our forests answers the cash question yes, and the close to annihilation of the heath hen answers the second question yes. The words of Gilbert F. Wright at the farmers’ institute come in as an asset here. “We would be much better off if we only studied Mother Nature and her unbreakable laws more fully.”
Obituary. Carver Symmes died suddenly at his home on the Carlisle road on Saturday, March 31, where he was found by Paul Wilson and James Loomis, who called to bring him some wood and ascertain the condition of his health, knowing that he had been feeble for some time, and found that he was unconscious. A physician was summoned and found that life was extinct, death being due to natural causes.
Mr. Symmes was born in this town in 1851 at the Symmes homestead on the Carlisle road, where he had lived his life of seventy-two years. He was one of seven children of Edward and Rebecca (Fletcher) Symmes. He was educated at the Minot’s Corner school and Westford academy. In his younger days he was a constant attendant at the Congregational church, and it was rare that he was absent from church on Sunday or Sunday school. I [Samuel L. Taylor] personally recall his constant attendance. He was [paper torn, two line missing] he was always found in thoughtful meditation of the value of the quiet influences of life.
Neither by nature nor cultivated habit did he have any love or aptitude for the noisy influences of the street corner or the house-top methods of much of modern life. The influence of the “still, small voice” was the power that appealed to his life.
His niece, Mrs. Walter Lee, of Back Bay, Boston, who was present at the funeral, has been most faithful in watchful, helpful oversight and care since his mother died several years ago .
The funeral was held on last week Tuesday afternoon from Fairview cemetery. Rev. John H. Blair conducted the services. The bearers were John and Arthur Wilson, Almon S. Vose and Paul Symmes. Interment was in the family lot in Fairview cemetery. He leaves a brother, Fletcher Symmes, and several nephews and nieces.
Graniteville. The Abbot Worsted soccer team defeated the Clan Sutherland club of Brookline at the Abbot field, Forge Village, on last Saturday afternoon in an American cup game 3 goals to 1. It was a fine game for soccer and the game was thoroughly enjoyed by a large crowd. This Saturday the Abbots are expected to play Fore River at Quincy in the fourth round of the American cup series.
The Ladies’ Aid society of the M.E. church held a very successful supper and entertainment in the vestry of the church on Wednesday evening. An excellent supper was served at 6:30, followed by a pleasing entertainment by local and out of town talent at 7:45. The affair was largely attended and thoroughly enjoyed.
The Ladies’ Aid society met at the home of Mrs. C. E. Eaton on Thursday evening and organized for the current year.
Joseph and Clarence Sherman of Allston have been recent guests of Dr. and Mrs. Fabyan Packard. Mrs. Batchelder of Greenfield is now spending a few days here at the Packard home.
- Albert Guichard and Miss Annie McCarron were married before the 7:30 o’clock mass in St. Catherine’s church last Saturday morning. The pastor, Rev. A. S. Malone, performed the ceremony. Miss Laura Guichard, sister of the bridegroom, was bridesmaid and Leo McMullin was best man. Mr. and Mrs. Guichard will reside in this village.
The Abbot junior soccer team will play the Roxbury club in the third round of the amateur cup series at Forge Village on next Saturday. The winner of this contest will meet the Ansonia club of Connecticut for the New England amateur championship.
News Items. Fisher Buckshorn, Philip Prescott and Gordon Seavey of Westford were in town Tuesday evening to attend the dance given by the Unitarian Girls’ club and Laymen’s League chapter at Hardy’s hall.
Real Estate Transfers. Westford—Maggie Graves to Walter L. Blanchard et ux., land on Cold Spring road.
District Court. On Monday Fortuna Gardell of Westford was before the court for shooting seven hens belonging to Mrs. Michael Boradoska of that town. He was found guilty and fined ten dollars. Attorney George L. Wilson appeared for the government.