Turner's Public Spirit, February 10, 1923
A look back in time to a century ago
By Bob Oliphant
Center. The Grange held a very enjoyable valentine party at the town hall on Thursday evening of last week. Appropriate games were played and refreshments served. The success of the affair was due to the efficient committee, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Meyer and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Lydiard.
Miss Doris Davis, who has been enjoying her mid-winter vacation in town, returned to her home on Sunday.
Perley Wright is suffering from blood poisoning.
Mrs. Peter Clement has returned to her home after having spent some time at the home of her daughter in Lowell.
Cards have been received by friends from Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Spalding, who are at West Palm Beach, Fla.
Miss Anna Shaddick passed away after a long illness at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Shaddick, in Brighton, Sunday evening. The family resided for some time in the Nashobah [sic] district of the town and their many friends extend sincere sympathy in their hour of great bereavement. Besides her parents she is survived by a brother George.
The firemen enjoyed an oyster supper on Tuesday evening.
Warren Wright, of South Chelmsford, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Wright, of this town, was elected as assessor for three years at the town meeting held in Chelmsford on Monday.
Westford Grange has been invited to neighbor with Bedford Grange on April 9, and to furnish half of the entertainment. Chelmsford Grange is to furnish the other part of the entertainment.
Several of the members of Mrs. Edgar Mann’s family are reported ill.
Word has been received in town, recently, of the birth of a son, Charles Brainard Taylor, to Mr. and Mrs. Albert D. Taylor, of Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Taylor has many friends here who will extend congratulations.
The Alliance held an all-day meeting at the home of Mrs. William R. Carver on last week Thursday. The morning was spent in sewing to replenish the church linen. At noon a lunch was served, and at the afternoon session Miss Hope Parkhurst gave a very interesting talk on her social service work while at the Frances Willard Settlement House in Boston, [paper torn, line missing] gave the religious views of the American Unitarian association, and an account of the work done by the Unitarian denomination during the past year, which proved very interesting to the Alliance members.
Alfred Sutherland spent the weekend in town at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo Sutherland.
There will be a valentine party and reunion in aid of [the] St. Catherine’s church building fund in Abbot hall, Forge Village, Friday evening, February 9. A concert from eight to nine will be followed by dancing with favors to those who participate in the grand march are among the attractions. A good time is promised to all who attend.
Bertram Sutherland, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo H. Sutherland, has gone on a trip to California.
The next meeting of the Tadmuck club will be held in Library hall on Tuesday afternoon, February 13. The speaker of the afternoon will be Rev. Karl P. Meister, of Lowell, who will take for his subject, “Industrial democracy.” The members who were not present at the last meeting will find an opportunity to bring their dollar [for annual dues] to this meeting.
The Young People’s league will present their play, “A foul tip,” in the town hall on Thursday evening, February 22. The young people have put a great deal of work in the production and it is hoped that there will be a good attendance.
Prayer meeting at the Congregational church on Friday evening at eight o’clock. Social of the Young People’s league on Saturday evening in the vestry. On Sunday morning the pastor will give his sixth sermon of the “Marriage” series, “Who gives this woman away?” The evening theme will be “The bridegroom.”
The W.C.T.U. held one of the best meetings of the year on Wednesday at the home of Mrs. Harry Ingalls, with the president, Miss Janet Wright, in charge. The devotional exercise were led by Mrs. Ada Day, with Mrs. Edith Blaney in charge of the musical part of the exercises. Mrs. Lily Meyer, the secretary, read a letter telling of the big bazaar which is to be held at the Hotel Vendome, Boston, on March 22, the proceeds of which will be used to raise money for the Katherine Lent Stevenson memorial scholarship fund, and for state work. At the business meeting the sum of two dollars was voted for the work of organizing new unions and two dollars for the work among lumbermen. It was also voted to make donations to the bazaar. A new member was added to the membership, and Mrs. Blaney read a paper on the lecture given by Mrs. Evangeline Booth before the world’s C.T.U. meeting, which was held in Philadelphia recently. The hostess, Mrs. Ingalls, served refreshments, and the meeting proved a great success in every way.
Library Notes. The library has added several new magazines to its list this year. Of special interest will be “The Illustrated London News,” a famous weekly periodical containing many pictures of world interest. “Our World” is a well illustrated monthly magazine whose specialty is up-to-date information from foreign countries. The children have an attractive magazine provided for them in “Child Life.”
Those who remember John D. Long when he taught at Westford academy will be interested in reading his diary that is being published in Atlantic Monthly, beginning in the December number. He begins this diary in 1848 when only nine years old and carries it on for most of his lifetime.
Miss May E. Day attended the New England Library conference at Providence, R.I., last week. The libraries of the city and of Brown University were visited. Miss Alice M. Howard had charge of the library during her absence.
Many new books have been added recently. A few interesting ones are: “Martin Pippin in the apple orchard,” by E. Farjeon, a charming fantasy and love story; “The open spaces, incidents of nights and days under the blue sky,” by J. C. Van Dyke, frontier life in Minnesota; “Babbitt,” by S. Lewis, story of a business man and his one great friendship; “Wild brother,” by W. L. Underwood, true story of a bear nursed and brought up as foster brother to a family of children; “Fair harbor,” by J. C. Lincoln and “Foursquare,” by Grace Richmond.
Town Meeting Warrant. The warrant for the annual town meeting on Monday has been posted. Among the new articles to be acted upon are the following:
Article 36. To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $250 or some other amount and elect a director, the money to be expended by, and the director to serve in cooperation with, the County Agricultural Trustees of the Middlesex County Bureau of Agriculture and Home Economics under the provisions of Sections 40 to 45, Chapter 128, General Laws.
Art. 38. To see if the town will establish an additional hydrant on a private way known as Palermo street.
Art. 39. To hear the report of the committee chosen at the last town meeting relative to the establishment of a war memorial.
Art. 40. To see if the town will authorize the selectmen to expend money from the general road appropriation to purchase a tractor, loader and other machinery to be used in connection with the construction and repair of roads.
Art. 41. To see if the town will accept Sections 21-28 both inclusive of Chapter 136 of the General Laws, permitting sports and games on the Lord’s Day.
Art. 42. To see if the town will vote to erect a schoolhouse on the land to be acquired in Forge Village, equip and furnish the same.
Art. 43. To see if the town will vote to borrow $100,000 to meet the expense to be incurred in erecting a schoolhouse in Forge Village and furnishing and equipping the same, and will vote to petition the General Court for authority to borrow a sum of money over and above the debt limit sufficient to carry out the provisions of this vote.
Art. 44. To see if the town will vote to appropriate money and authorize the preparation of plans for an addition to the schoolhouse in Graniteville.
Art. 46. To hear the report of the committee on by-laws, a copy of which was printed in the last annual report.
Art. 47. To see what action the town will take through the adoption of by-laws, or otherwise, for the regulation of carriages and vehicles used in this town.
Art. 48. To hear the report of the committee appointed to investigate and report relative to the entering into a contract for lighting streets. To see if the town will vote to revoke the vote passed at the last meeting whereby such contract was to be for the period of one year only, and further to see upon what terms the town will authorize the execution of such contract.
Art. 49. To see if the town will appoint a committee to investigate and report at a subsequent meeting as to the best and most economical way of heating the town hall, and appropriate money to meet the expense of such investigation.
Art. 52. To see what action the town will take towards discontinuing the present union school system, and employing a superintendent for the schools of the town only.
About Town. February opened with clear, cloudless sunshine, seemingly to encourage even at this time of the year, those who need it.
Paramaribo, the capital of Dutch Guiana [now Surinam], has one commendable feature—its streets are lined with mahogany shade trees. A lumber firm offered $50,000 for the trees in one block, but the residents declined to sell. Call on America the next time; everything is for sale and needless waste here.
A blue-winged teal banded September 24, 1920, at a lake twenty miles north of Toronto, was caught two months and seven days later in a swamp on the Island of Trinidad, off the coast of Venezuela, a distance of over 3000 miles. Fortunate for this bird it did not encounter a Massachusetts open season, for if it had, it would have encountered “dad with his gun” 3000 miles this side of Trinidad.
Mr. Dickinson writes me from Washington, D.C., where he is enjoying snowless skies and 40° above zero, that the farmers’ institute for March will be held in Westford on Wednesday, March 28. I regard it as an ideal date for the time of year, just between too late to expect bad traveling and too early for “dirt farmers” to be burrowed in so deep but what they can burrow out to the institute. Acting on instructions from “higher up” the dinner has already been provided for by the Ladies’ Aid.
A Maine lobster planted five years ago in Puget Sound and branded “E 17” on the back, was recently caught off Oregon water, 500 miles away. The subway route is generally safer than the winged overhead route, not being as liable to encounter an “open season.”
Constitutional prohibition in the opinion of Prof. Henry W. Farnham of Yale, and who is a convert to the dry principle, “Does not create lawlessness; it merely reveals it.” “The Volstead act,” he declares, “Has revealed a lawless spirit in quarters where it was not suspected.” Professor, we thank you for telling a whole octave volume of truth.
The third farmers’ institute under the management of Middlesex-North Agricultural society will be held on Wednesday, February 14, at the Methodist church, Bridge street, Lowell, with a fine program.
At the annual town meeting in Chelmsford on Monday Herbert C. Petterson was elected town clerk. He was a former student of Westford academy.
Westford is first prize winner in the number of articles in the annual town warrant—fifty-two.
I dislike to appear so often in the role of “Importunity,” but because I have fallen in with a never-get-over-love of our forests I am impelled to often quote facts. William A. L. Bazeley, whom I met in the house in 1913, says, “Automobilists should realize that in starting fires by the roadside, which eventually sets the forests on fire from cigar stubs, they are destroying the very scenery which means so much to their enjoyment. With the present system of observation towers and local forest wardens throughout the state there was no need of any large forest fires in the future. In 1922 a total area of 85,241 acres were burned over in Massachusetts, and also resulted in the loss of five lives and the destruction of 122 buildings and damage of approximately $500,000, besides costing $100,000 in extinguishing the fires. The number of fires along the railroad increased from 862 in 1921 to 1511 in 1922.”
It is rumored that Germany will ask America to become protectorate of the Ruhr district now occupied by the French. Of this proposition the Portland Express says, “We should as soon think of taking the protectorate of a certain other place much warmer and more densely populated [a reference to Hell].”
George Polley, of Virginia, the daring climber of buildings and who recently gave exhibitions in Lowell, climbing up the sides of buildings with nothing but finger nails and toe nails to climb by, and climbing the flagstaff and balancing on his head on the ball, is a distant relative of our own close-by Amos Polley of the Morning Glory farm, who has no aspirations to take lessons of his relative in climbing and balancing on his head on a flagstaff ball.
I read with more than passing interest a recent sermon by a young lady whose subject was “Gymnasiums in the public schools.” It was so inspiringly written and cleverly worded that I read it several times. But with all its inspirations as written, the subject of athletics in our public schools has monopolized altogether too much valuable time and money in its demonstration and out of all proportion to the goods delivered. Our schools are equipped for the development of brains and not for Jim John Dempsey [probably a reference to the boxer Jack Dempsey (1895-1983), although this is not his full name]. And let us remember that those who have given the world its best in literature, music, art, science, inventions and live inspirations never point us toward gymnasiums. Emerson, our beloved, gathered much of unscriptural inspiration while crooning in forests at Walden lake. If it’s exercise, walk to school young youth and cut down the overhead expense. Some of our mothers walked four miles.
Mrs. Bertha Prescott Benjamin, of Reading, spent the weekend at the home of her parents Mr. and Mrs. Eben Prescott.
Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Dyer Cushing have written from Miami, Fla., of the wonderful motor car parade which was given there recently. There were 300 cars in the parade and 2000 persons. It was given under the auspices of the “All States’ society,” which was recently formed, and was called the “All States’ parade.”
On February 4 the Williston Congregational church in Portland, Me., where Dr. Francis E. Clark founded the C.E. society, began its semi-centennial exercises which lasted until Friday evening when Dr. Clark spoke. On the evening of February 4 Rev. Burke F. Leavitt, of East Boston, first pastor, and Edward F. Gates, general secretary of the C.E. society, spoke, the former dealing in reminiscences. Mr. Leavitt lived in Westford for a while, and he and his wife recently celebrated their golden wedding [anniversary].
Miss Althea Symmes, daughter of Mrs. William Symmes, has gone on a trip to California.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Burbeck, Mrs. Alex McDougall and Miss Mabel Drew attended the instructive meeting of the Nashoba Fruit Growers’ association in West Acton on Wednesday. This was a joint meeting with the Middlesex County Farm Bureau.
John Wilson celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday on January 28. His daughter, Mrs. George Kimball, had a family reunion at her home in honor of the occasion. Mr. Wilson is one of our G.A.R. veterans.
Mr. and Mrs. Francis Bannister and daughter Frances celebrated their birthdays on February 3.
The twelve icehouses of the Boston Ice Company at Crystal Lake, North Chelmsford, and close to the Stony Brook railroad, were totally destroyed by fire last Saturday evening. About eighteen years ago the same company lost their buildings by fire.
A small owl has been operating at the Morning Glory farm, catching doves. Desiring a change of diet, it flew into the barn to catch mice. The cat desiring a change of diet, flew at the owl and ended it.
That last communication of V. T. E. was in line with the rest of his interesting communications and rang true in every sense of the word.
Fitchburg has resolved itself into the forestry industry on a large scale and New York state has gone into it on the million scale. Nothing like being nagged into it by the prospective high cost of a lumber famine.
In Canada there are 812 fur farms of which 775 are fox farms. The balance are skunk, raccoon, martin, muskrat and karakul sheep. In 1921 Canadian fur farmers realized the sum of $1,270,000 on silver foxes alone. Contrary to the popular opinion that fox fur comes from the wilds of Canada, by far the greater number comes from these fox arms. If we wish to preserve wild life in the United States for its dollars and from extermination, we shall have to dig something wiser out of our brains than an open season.
First Parish church (Unitarian) Sunday service at [four] p.m. Preacher, Rev. Frank B. Crandall, the minister. Subject, “The veil.”
Pomona Meeting. It was a real worthwhile day filled with thoughts of farm life and other thoughts to lighten it up to increase efficiency that Middlesex-North Pomona Grange gave itself over to last week Friday with Master Clyde Prescott of Westford presiding. The morning subject opened with “Poultry,” and closed with dinner. The poultry show was opened by Frederick A. Hanscom, of this town, who has made some very clever upper-cut hits in bringing poultry to satisfactory financial terms. Following Mr. Hanscom in a more or less upper-cut role was Perley E. Kimball, of Chelmsford, and Harry C. Dawson, of Tewksbury. After discussion and the eggs had all been gathered, Norman L. Peavey, of Dracut, led the discussion of “Which is more profitable, one cow or fifty hens?” As the hen orators were in majority at the poultry show we expected they would win, but we were six miles from the ring that day, so cannot say. At the noon hour West Chelmsford Grange set forth dinner under charge of Mrs. Beatrice Olsson.
The afternoon session opened with Robert D. Trask, of Waltham, on the witness stand. His subject was “Winter feeding of poultry.” He was subjected to sharp cross-examination but was not shaken in his direct testimony, for he has had large experience in the poultry branch of farming and is known throughout New England for experimental work in New York state. A question box was opened after the address and many questions which had previously bothered poultry raisers were carefully explained.
A musical program with readings followed, given by West Chelmsford Grange, with Mrs. Elmer Trull as pianist and Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, soloist. Master Warren Dean followed with several encore readings.
Amendments a Failure? And now comes forward that eminent scholar and splendid man, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia university. He says in substance: “The eighteenth amendment [prohibiting the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors] is a failure and the fifteenth [right of citizens to vote cannot be denied on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude] is sick unto death.” We feel like asking right here, as of old, “When hath this man this wisdom?” [Matthew 13:54b] Now let it be laid down as a safe principle of judgment that Dr. Butler’s opinion, because of his learning, is not worth any more as to whether the fifteenth and eighteenth amendments are failures than the readers of this paper, who have normal eyes, ears and brains and are daily using them. We take off our hat always to Dr. Butler as a splendid man and great scholar, but it is time we had got over making an infallible “fetish” of any man’s learning as proof of what constitutes failure—it is being spread before the public to influence. Dr. Butler says the fifteenth and eighteenth amendments are failures and the inference is because a learned man says so, therefore we are all thought to join in the chorus. It is much like the silly senseless play of our youth, “Simon says thumbs up. Simon says thumbs down.”
It is just as senseless to bow down before Dr. Butler as an infallible and final authority in interpreting what constitutes failure just as though it was a question that only rare scholars could decide, when in reality it is a question of daily observation and facts that every-day normal eyes and ears of the humblest citizen is as capable of deciding as the learned Dr. Butler.
Sit up and take notice while we offer Dr. Butler some rebuttal as an anesthetic. Mr. Kresge, of Detroit, of five- and ten-cent store fame, says, “Arrests for drunkenness in Detroit for the first twelve months under national prohibition were 65% less than for the preceding period. And $3,000,000,000 in the country which formerly found its way across the bar now finds its way into legitimate business.”
- C. Baldwin, president of a large coal, iron and land company of Birmingham, Ala., says “No matter how much moonshine’s disposed of, it is not a drop in the bucket compared to conditions before national prohibition.”
But why [paper torn, 3 lines missing] district courts for arrests for drunkenness—some more drop in the bucket [of] evidence. But for all this Dr. Butler and Bourke Cochran recite in unison “The dry law has proved a failure,” and Cochran alone recites, “We might as well come along with a constitutional amendment as to what we shall eat,” to which the Fall River News replies, “We would remind Mr. Cochran that we have numerous pure food laws with rather stringent directions as to what the producers of food shall offer us to eat.” That is just the it of it. We have yet to hear of a complaint at attempting to compel people to be healthy by strenuous food laws, but when it comes to drink, you can go it clear into and over the line of a dangerous menace to the home and industrial life and safety of civilized government, and if anyone is abeyant by a constitutional amendment there goes up a chorus of voices from the underworld and occasionally a president of a college joins in and now and then a bright editor, “It’s an infringement of personal liberty.” But if you are bound to take Dr. Butler’s judgment on account of his great learning we offer as a last rebuttal Dr. Charles William Eliot for forty years president of Harvard college.
Important Question. An important question comes up at town meeting, the building of a new schoolhouse at Forge Village. People all exclaim “higher taxes” as though each individual had to pay the whole sum asked for. The share which each taxpayer will be called upon to pay will amount to practically two dollars on a thousand—really it is surprisingly little. Probably few people stop to think it out—how very little his part is; he just accepts the startling cry of “higher taxes” with a big accent on higher. It looks easy if we say two dollars on a thousand. It is imperative that something should be done to remedy the school situation in Forge Village and Graniteville, too. The truth of the matter is that we should have met the situation long ago, but the duty was put off.
At Forge Village a portable house was resorted to at quite a cost. A portable house is very unsatisfactory and lasts only three years. The platoon system is not good—children on half time. If children are on half ration of food we would soon see the effect on their bodies; the effect of half rations for their minds may not show so quickly, but the effect is there just the same.
Forge Village is an attractive place, it has well built homes, it has a growing industry there, it deserves a good, adequate school building. Because some of us live in another part of the town is no reason we should vote against a school for Forge Village. We are all members, one of another, and what blesses one blesses all.
Remember that our leaders are full as likely to come from our villages with a foreign population as from millionaires’ row. We are glad there are so many children to be educated. We know a town that has only one local child in its school, all the rest are state children sent there to fill up the school.
Forge Village needs a new school building and Graniteville would like one, but with a small addition its want will be met.
Figure up how little after all will be your contribution in taxes for good school facilities—probably your part will not equal the price of a good pair of shoes. Remember, that there is a “giving that enriches and a withholding that impoverishes.”
The article for a separate school superintendent for Westford is a good move. Westford covers much territory, has several villages and many school problems, and the way to bring our school system up and get the best value out of our money expended is to have a superintendent right here.
Graniteville. A whist party in aid of St. Catherine’s church building fund was held in Abbot’s hall here on Tuesday evening with a large number in attendance.
A valentine party and reunion by the same committee will be held in Abbot’s hall, Forge Village, on Friday evening.
The annual town meeting will be held at the town hall on next Monday. There are several important articles to be acted upon and it looks very much as though it will be a warm session.
The Sewing class met in Abbot’s hall here on Wednesday evening with a large number in attendance.
At a meeting of the M.E. Sunday school board held here on last Sunday with the pastor, Rev. W. E. Anderson presiding, the following elections took place. Edmund De La Haye, supt.; Samuel Fletcher, asst.; George Wilson, treas.; Miss Elizabeth Wallace, sec.; Mrs. Lucy Blood, teacher of women’s class; W. O. Hawkes, men’s class; Mrs. De La Haye, boys’ class; Miss Nellie Morton, girls’ class; Mrs. A. B. Carr, intermediate class; Mrs. A. Logan, junior class; Mrs. H. N. Fletcher and Mrs. Martha Doucette, primary class.
Death. Miss Stella B. Shattuck, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David H. Shattuck, died at her home here early last Saturday morning after a long illness, aged 30 years, 7 months and 8 days. Besides her parents she leaves three sisters, Mrs. Frank Caunter and Mrs. Cora McEnaney of this village and Mrs. Harry Bancroft of Denver, Col. The deceased was well and favorably known and leaves a wide circle of friends to mourn her loss. She was a member of Cameron circle, C. of F. of A., and the Odd Ladies of Forge Village. The funeral took place from her late home here on Tuesday afternoon and was largely attended. The services were conducted by Rev. William E. Anderson, pastor of the M.E. church. Mrs. Nettie Roberts of Lowell sung [sic] with deep feeling, “Some day we’ll understand” and “Christian’s good-night.” There were many beautiful floral tributes. The bearers were Frank Caunter, William Gilson, Fred McEnnis, Owen Fallon. The body was placed in the receiving tomb in Fairview cemetery, Westford, where the committal service was read by Rev. W. E. Anderson.
Center. Ernest Leon Clauson passed away on Sunday morning at the town home aged forty-four years. He was born in Westford, residing in this town most of his life. Mr. Clauson was in poor health all winter, the end coming very suddenly. He leaves a sister, Mrs. St. Lawrence, of Swanton, Vt., and several aunts and uncles in the west. The funeral services were held at the home on Monday afternoon at two o’clock, Rev. Robert W. Drawbridge officiating. The body was placed in the tomb to await interment.
News Items. Homer Harrington coached a play given by the young people of St. Andrew’s mission at Forge Village on Monday evening.
Church Notes. St. Andrews. … Lenten services in St. Andrew’s parish on Wednesday evening at 7:15 in the mission house at Forge Village, and on Friday evening at seven o’clock in the church in Ayer.
Real Estate Transfers. …
Westford – Joseph E. Langstaff to Ralph G. Haberman, land on Main street; Lewis B. Palmer to Lewis P. Palmer, land on Main street; Lewis B. Palmer to Mark A. Palmer, land on Main street; Wilhelmine A. Palmer et al. to Lewis B. Palmer, land on North street; Jennie A. Trull et al. to William W. Gilson et ux., land on Nabnassett street.