Turner's Public Spirit, March 17, 1923
A look back in time to a century ago
By Bob Oliphant
Center. The play, “The new minister,” under the auspices of the Grange, will be given in the town hall by North Chelmsford talent on Saturday evening, March 24.
Mrs. Harry Sargent, of Enfield, N.H., and Miss Genevieve Campbell, of Hudson, N.H., were weekend guests of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Knight.
Miss Lillian Sutherland has accepted a position as teacher in Melrose.
The supper and entertainment held at the Congregational church on last Wednesday evening was a great success. The affair was well patronized and both supper and entertainment were much enjoyed by those present. Miss Mabel Prescott, assisted by members of the Young People’s league, had charge of the supper, and the entertainment was in charge of Miss Edna Sargent and Miss Elva Judd, who, with Miss Prescott, comprised the committee. The entertainment consisted of a talk by Rev. Mr. Jenkins, of North Chelmsford, who took for his subject, “The adventures of a sky pilot”; piano solo, Master Howard Anderson; vocal solos, Mr. Blair and Miss Elva Judd. The committee feel very grateful to all who assisted them in making the affair a success.
Westford post, A.L., and Auxiliary, held an enjoyable whist party at headquarters on Monday evening. The attendance was not very large, owing to the bad traveling.
The honor roll of the William E. Frost school for the two months ending March 2 is as follows: Grade 8, high honor roll, Alice Heywood and Jardine Davis; honor roll, Lillian Dane, Elizabeth Wells, Everett Millis; grade 7, William Anderson, Viola Day, Ruth Nesmith, Elizabeth Carver, Elmer Bridgford, Betty Prescott, Ruth Nelson, Angie Parfitt, Ruth Ryan; grade 6, Gladys Whitney, Walter Belville, Marion Day; grade 5, Merle Foster, Blanche Rockwell; grade 4, Josephine Rafalko, Marian Pollock, Inez Blaney; grade 3, William Wright, Cyril Blaney, Ellen Connolly; Parkerville school, Charles Williamson, Ronald Anderson, Mildred Healey, Clarence Martin, Oscar Williamson, Concetta Succo, Elizabeth Nesmith, Alma Thifault, Jennie Seifer, Marjorie Wilson, Zelma Williamson, Tessie Gorbunoff, Norman Nesmith, Lida Succo, Grace Spellman, Raymond Wilson.
Miss Alice L. Davis, who died recently in Somerville [Feb. 25, 1923], taught in the Center school the first year it was opened, in the building which later became the Cavalry building, and is now the headquarters of the American Legion [20 Boston Road]. She is pleasantly remembered by a number of the residents who attended the school at that time, among them being Mrs. Sidney B. Wright.
Alfred Tuttle is reported on the sick list and his sister, Miss Ruth Tuttle, of the William E. Frost school, is caring for her brother. Her place at the school is being filled by Miss Mabel Drew. Postmaster J. Herbert Fletcher has been assisting on Mr. Tuttle’s R.F.D. route during his illness.
The twelfth in the series of motion pictures conducted under the auspices of the Middlesex Bureau of Agriculture and Home Economics will be given at the town hall on Saturday evening of this week. A seven-reel picture, “The yoke of age,” will be the feature of the evening, which combined with the usual comedy picture, etc., will form an interesting entertainment.
Miss Harriet Horton, R.N., public health nurse, is at her office at the town hall daily from 8:30 to 9 in the morning and from 1 to 2 in the afternoon and will gladly consult with parents regarding the health of children, or upon any other public health questions.
John G. Fletcher, of the M.I.T., accompanied by his friend, Robert Simpson, of Lowell, are guests of the former’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Herbert Fletcher, over the weekend.
Owing to the inclemency of the weather the attendance at the Tadmuck club on Tuesday afternoon was rather small, but those who came out were amply repaid by the fine program presented, which consisted of a musical lecture on the folk song by Mrs. James Moyer, of Boston, and singing by the high school glee club, under the direction of Miss Pamelia Precious, supervisor of music in the schools here. At the close of the program a club tea, with Mrs. William R. Carver as hostess, was enjoyed, during which selections were played on the Victrola. The music committee, Mrs. C. A. Blaney, chairman, had charge of the meeting.
The Westford academy basketball team played the Ayer high school team on Wednesday afternoon, the former winning by the score of 20 to 16.
Miss Eleanor S. Colburn directed a concert given recently by the Glee club and orchestra of Atlanta university at Atlanta, Ga. Miss Colburn is teaching music at the university, and her friends will be pleased to learn of her success in her chosen profession.
The Alliance held a pleasant all-day session at the home of Mrs. J. Herbert Fletcher last week Thursday and the Ladies’ Aid of the Congregational church held one of their pleasant all-day sessions at the home of Mrs. George Walker.
The Young People’s league of the Congregational church held an enjoyable social in the vestry on Tuesday evening.
A number of young people from the Center attended the shower which was given to Miss Edna Sargent last Saturday evening. The young folks went in a two-horse sled driven by Charles Colburn. Miss Sargent is soon to become the bride of Willard Moore.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Wright received recently a box of oranges from the grove of Albert Taylor in Sebring, Fla.
Master Francis O’Connell, the young son of Mr. and Mrs. John O’Connell, who was one of the prize babies at the baby show held in Forge Village last fall, now at the age of six months weighs twenty-eight pound and enjoys excellent health.
About Town. Our old friend and townsman, Emory J. Whitney, who has been taking a sun bath in Florida for several months, has been taking an airplane trip in the upper skies. Some of us would like to know what the prospect is up yonder for more snow in the down yonder, where we have been studying “Snow bound” for several months and are still studying our lesson.
We are glad to report that Rep. Alfred W. Hartford has interested himself and others in securing Hon. William A. L. Bazeley, of Uxbridge, state forester, to give an address on “Forestry in Massachusetts” before the Tadmuck club at a luncheon on April 24. Mr. Bazeley was one of the most practical common-sense, useful lights in the legislature in 1913, and a native of Wales, where they raise the Lloyd George brand of efficiency. The question of forestry in this state should prove to be of interest and an interesting talk is sure to be given by this talented speaker.
The Lowell Sunday Telegram of March 4 and the Boston Transcript of Saturday, March 10, had a very attractive picture of Mrs. Edward M. Abbot (Natalie Baron) in her bridal gown, which was also the bridal gown of her mother.
It was very pleasant on last Saturday to open the well known Congregationalist and find a most interesting and thoughtful article written by Mary P. Bunce on “The ministry of comfort and cheer,” considering the subject in a helpful way as to how much the church is doing for the sick.
I smelled with my nose the first spring skunk of the season near the Old Oaken bucket farm henhouses last Sunday evening. Only caution prevented a face-to-face view, but I was thankful for even this old-time fragrant memory, distant introduction because it’s a sign spring has not forgotten us and is almost ready to shake off winter and then shake hands with us.
Let not agricultural interests be so prejudiced against daylight saving that we are unwilling to see that the principal is an economical asset to nearly every industry in Massachusetts except agriculture, and that we are only producing about fifteen percent of the food to feed the inhabitants of the state, and that we are shouting ourselves hoarse against daylight saving out of all proportion to the victuals that we produce. That we lose millions by daylight savings is out of joint with the facts. That daylight saving is a great inconvenience to the dairy farmer and some others, and disturbs the normal sleeping hours of school children is altogether too self-evident to require other proof. For this reason I am opposed to any daylight saving that pushes the clock along an hour and makes the sun, moon, stars and the Old Farmers’ Almanac do an hour’s worth of lie daily. Go to work at six o’clock as our fathers and mothers did and leave everybody’s clock to tick in harmony with the sun and normal nature.
Zero keeps lapping over into March. It was 10 below zero here on last week Friday, and from Forge Village came the report that it was 20 below there. We think this is cold for March, but Amos Polley reports several years ago it being 12 below on the 19th of March. In contrast with that a journal kept in 1885 reports us as ploughing on January 18.
Miss Ruth Sargent came from Framingham and spent the weekend with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Sargent.
The young friends of Miss Edna Sargent gave her a surprise last Saturday evening at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Sargent, Chamberlain road. This social affair was in honor of her approaching marriage to Willard Moore. Good wishes were extended and gifts of kitchen utensils were showered upon Miss Sargent, who is very popular.
Mr. and Mrs. Norman Phillips, at Westford depot, recently gave a cornball party to some of their friends.
Mr. and Mrs. Austin Fletcher recently moved into the house known as the “Whidden place,” the former home of Mr. Fletcher’s grandfather, Charles E. Whidden, near Westford depot [72 Depot St.].
Congratulations are being extended to Rev. and Mrs. F. B. Crandall upon the birth of a son on Tuesday, March 6, at the Groton hospital.
We have heard that our townsman, Emory Whitney, who is in Kissimmee, Fla., recently took a trip in an airship and enjoyed it.
The funeral services of J. Henry Fletcher were held on Monday afternoon, March 5, at the Unitarian church, Belmont. Rev. Charles T. Billings, of Belmont, and Rev. George Hale Reed, of Winchester, were the officiating clergymen. The ushers were Robert Bacon, Henry Hunt Clark, Robert B. Clark and Fred H. Loveland. The honorary pall-bearers were Austin B. Fletcher, of New York; Edward T. Atkins, Judge Frederick Dodge, Francis H. Kendall, Col. Everett C. Benton, of Belmont; George H. Lawrence and Stacey L. Hall, of Boston.
Allen B. M. Hildreth died last week Friday in Cambridge and the funeral was in Arlington on Sunday. He was in his seventy-eighth year. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Levi Hildreth, who lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., and he was a relative of Miss Ella Hildreth, of this town. He was a student at Westford academy in 1861, and his sister, Isabella C., was a student at the academy in 1855.
Hope that you are keeping in mind the farmer’s institute that is coming to this town on March 28. Mr. Dickinson, of Billerica, who has charge, writes from Washington, D.C., that he will have a splendid program. He has been asked to give a talk on “Washington and congress as I saw it.” This will be very interesting and helpful to have a word direct from our national capital.
Foxes—yest. [sic] I have mentioned them before, and yet once again I mention them, and perhaps not the last time for one was seen last week chasing a beloved cat around the door yard of W. R. Taylor on the Stony Brook road. Extreme hunger will break the speed laws, so cats take warning and do not rely on your speed against the speed of a hungry fox; rely on the claws that Nature has equipped you with and proceed to climb the nearest tree.
School Frills. A bill was recently introduced into the legislature by Representative Miss Robinson of Brockton, a former school teacher, to teach “rules of safety in the public schools.” The bill was overwhelmingly turned down on the ground of “no more frills in the public schools.” I was not aware that any “frills” were being taught in the public schools, to say nothing about “more frills.” Most of our public schools continue to measure the capacity of mind by the three R’s—reading, riteing and rithmatic—which represent the materialistic bread and butter view of life, as well as the money view of life. We have been and are continuing to be fed on this view, and teaching that we are deformed and lop-sided compared with the capacity of the spirit for higher ideals and for which we have the ordination. Is the teaching of music, drawing, painting and physical health which are a part of the harmony of the balanced life—are these frills? For the lack of these frills we owe the destruction of our forests and the threatened annihilation of bird life. The value of both over much else should be taught more than they are as a part of nature’s vital frills. Do not teach such nonsense in the schools as “safety first”—it is a needless frill; better let a small army of children be killed annually by auto accidents and thin ice-skating generally.
Destructive Birds(?). I have been interested in reading Circular No. 45 on “The starling,” by Edward H. Forbush, state ornithologist. “This is an European bird introduced into New York city in 1890, and now is distributed over Massachusetts.” “Bird Lore” gives a condensed statement of the damage to fruit in Great Britain by the starlings. “The starling is a splendid bird on grass land, foraging for leather-jackets, wire worms and grubs; rids the sheep of a few of their ticks. But in a fruit district it comes in droves and feeds on the strawberries, cherries, apples, plums, raspberries, currants and other crops. They come in millions in flocks that darken the sky. Their flight is like the roar of the sea, or like trains going over the arches.” This seems to be making out a case for extermination, but for all this I feel like saying with Emerson, “Not quite so hot, my little fellows, not quite so hot.”
Let us remember while we are sitting on the jury to try the starlings and other feathered folks that this aged world of ours, ever since it has been able to go alone and do business for itself, has had famine, flood, drought and food-destroying pests which have threatened the existence of mankind, but like as of old in Noah’s ark, enough of the race has been saved from these wrecks to keep the human race from annihilation. Now in all this destruction of human life, will someone who cannot endure the sight of a bird getting something to eat without a shotgun protest please stand right up and name anything in history, modern or ancient, that connects bird life with the destruction of human life. Name it, or else take Emerson’s prescription which I have quoted.
Millions of lives have gone down to watery graves by floods and millions more by famine, and property values by millions, and the most responsible factor for this destruction as per majority of the jury has been “destruction of forests.” Now what part did the birds play in this short-sighted over-greedy game of man? Speak right up, as though it was a case of extermination of man or bird, and we must take our choice.
Here is some more of our folly come home to roost. The starlings were imported here to keep in check the food-threatening pest of agriculture, because the native birds with our open season shotgun policy have become so reduced by indiscriminate annihilation, that they are unable to cope with increasing pests and to this the hawks, skunks, owls and snakes must go, and the mice, rats and grasshoppers must come. What a vast storehouse of hindsight we are storing away. We may have to build an annex for our buildings.
Cheap Money. As bearing on cooperative marketing I wish to quote the following: “A Minnesota farmer submits a cashed-in” check for $1.30, representing the entire net proceeds of a carload of 700 bushels of sacked potatoes shipped to Minneapolis through a potato-growers’ organization. The potatoes brought nearly fifty cents per bushel, which was not very bad for that market at the time. But the freight charges took over half the money and the commission, heating charges, shrinkage and incidental costs took the rest, all but $1.30. (No, I do not mean $130.) The farmer had paid $35 for the bags alone, not to mention buying the seed, raising the crop and getting it ready for shipment. There are other reports from the northern potato country that show nets of much less than one cent per bushel, even when shipped through a potato-growers’ organization.
Amen to it. If the farmers in a natural wheat-corn belt have abandoned raising even their own bread-stuffs and have dashed into potato-raising, and out of all proportion to a paying demand, we don’t feel like going to their rescue. Say, brother farmers, how many potatoes at one cent a bushel have these farmers got to raise to pay even the interest on cheap money, and how long will it take to dig out the principal? Is it any wonder that Secretary Mellon of the treasury says of this rescue money that the government has agreed to offer, in substance, “It is dangerous and treacherous financing.” The secretary’s opinion ought to be worth something, coming as he did to this country from the north of Ireland when a boy with “nothing” as his capital stock, and is now one of the five wealthiest individuals in the United States. If cheap rescue money tends to continue and increase over-production, as some of the best financiers predict, what will the government do next to collect its interest money? Foreclose on potatoes at a cent a bushel, or join in an annex with many farmers to the ancient beatitudes in the grand chorus of “Blessed is the man who don’t dig his potatoes.”
Milk As a Food. Here are a few food statistics relating to the consumption of milk in the United States in comparison with some other countries. “The United States consumes only forty-three gallons of milk per inhabitant, or a little less than one pint daily. Sweden, with only seven-eighths of our population and one-fourteenth of our cows, consumes 69 gallons per individual, or a little less than a quart daily. Denmark, with three fourths as many cows, uses 68 gallons yearly per individual. Of the eleven countries quoted from, the United States is in the middle; five countries use more and five less, with Italy down to four gallons and Great Britain, our mother, 22 gallons.” Now while medical authority is a unit in singing in the chorus praises of milk as the best balanced food for us, and is in the head and lead of the hurrahs for vitamins and everyone ought to consume at least one quart daily, it is surprising to find that the consumption is less than one pint daily.
And now, quoting from memory from statistics, there are more under-nourished children in the country than in the city and the consumption of milk is less. Putting all these facts together, is it any wonder that a lot of us die before we get old? More milk and less tea, coffee, corned beef and ham and we would make a better living.
Evil-Doers. For the benefit of those who think that we have arrived at a millennium of disarmament, even down to a police force, I wish to quote from the address of Dr. William Byron Forbush, director of the National Honesty Bureau:
“Last year’s losses from defalcations by trusted employees, burglaries, blue sky investments, ‘gold bricks’ and other dishonesties amounted to $1,000,000,000. There is one burglary committed in this country every nine minutes, day and night. At one time the average age of our criminals was 32, now it is nearer 21. The automobile has become the most convenient object of theft. One automobile out of every 22 in Chicago has been stolen since the machines have been made and mostly by young men. In Detroit a gang of young thieves have stolen a half dozen automobiles a night for a year and every one of those boys had been educated. It is not that the boys are becoming more degenerate, but because there is an organization of criminals trying to corrupt them. There are crime trusts that have their control there of wholesale dealers and salesmen, and even their representatives in the courts of law. If the ostracism meted out to the little stealers could be wished on the big stealers the problem would be solved.”
This last statement I entirely disagree with—it would help, but would not remove the source. The big stealer was once a little one. The drunkard was once a moderate drinker, with a few exceptions. But there is enough that is startling to show that “day by day in every way” we are becoming good at such a rapid rate that we can safely play baseball, sports, etc., on Sunday without any danger of a moral upset. On the theory that while playing baseball we are not doing worse things, would justify all the evils that have throttled the human race since the race transacted business.
Library Notes. The older residents of the town who remember Albert Edwin Davis, principal of Westford academy 1863-1868, will be glad to read a journal written by him during the years 1858-62 and now presented to the public library by Mrs. F. C. Wright. The record covers the period when Mr. Davis was at Harvard college and is especially interesting for personal allusions and its descriptions of college life at that time.
Members of the Tadmuck club are reminded that “Federation topics,” the official organ of the Massachusetts State Federation of Women’s clubs, is to be found on the library reading-room table. It deserves to be read by those interested in the welfare of the club.
Facts About Taxes. Recent discussion of town affairs wherein the question as to where the burden of taxation fell in this town has led me to a little investigation, the tax list being very easy of access to the writer [Samuel L. Taylor].
A hasty figuring, which does not pretend to absolute accuracy, as where to classify some items, is sometimes puzzling and shows somewhat surprising results. First I summed up what tax was levied in 1922 on the various corporations doing business in town, and found the amount of $51,931.97. I then added to that the taxes of individuals who are resident in town and figure as owners in some of these corporations and get a total of $56,161.10 as tax on corporations and on resident owners herein. Then I added $7484.33 of taxes of storekeepers, quarrymen, ice firms and other business people and had the sum of $63,645.43. As the total tax levy of 1922 was $118,049.26, over half of the tax of 1922 was paid by strictly business corporations and people. If we now should add the taxes of employees of the various corporations and businesses here this sum would be noticeably increased. If we take into consideration the corporation tax of $14,145.88 collected by the state and returned to the town, and a few thousands of income tax which came to the town in the same way, we find “business” paying a big part of the town’s expense. How much of the income tax received by the town should be credited to “business” I cannot determine.
When discussing the town’s taxes “the farmer” is almost always brought into consideration. So I went through the tax list, taking everything I thought would be called farmer, though in many instances I knew the farmer was not the sole means of support of the family. Also, in several instances the tax included much woodland, more than the home ‘woodlot’ and even covers lumbering operations. Thus making the farm tax as large a proportion as I could. I found only $25,705.43 tax of 1922. Taking from that $2372.80 as taxes on farms of five non-residents we have $23,131.63 as resident farm tax, less than one-fifth of the tax levy. The number of families in town depending wholly on their farms is less than at first might be supposed—only about 100. Probably resident real farmers are not paying one-sixth of the town’s taxes. Rumor claims that “business” is to pay a yet larger proportion in future. If so the farmers’ proportion will be still lower.
Again I went at the tax list to see what the non-resident pays. I found here $15,852.32—over three-fifths as much as the resident farmers pay. Perhaps, sometime when feeling troubled about your tax bill, friend, it might be well to figure out what part of the town’s bills you are paying.
Graniteville. Both masses in St. Catherine’s church Sunday morning were celebrated by the pastor, Rev. A. S. Malone. At the first mass all the members of the Holy Name society received holy communion in a body. Sunday school was held in the afternoon at two o’clock, followed by the stations of the cross and benediction. At the conclusion of the services the regular meeting of the Holy Name society was held.
Mrs. Joseph Wall and Mrs. Alvin Nelson have been on the sick list for the past few days.
The Brotherhood is planning to hold a concert here in the near future. At that time the Mendelssohn male quarter of Lowell will be heard in vocal selections with Mrs. Livingston Gage, reader, and the Abbot Worsted Co. orchestra.
The regular meeting of Court Graniteville, F. of A., was held on Thursday evening with a good attendance.
A whist party in aid of St. Catherine’s church building fund was held in Abbot’s hall on Tuesday evening.
The Abbot Worsted soccer team is now doing light training in order to keep in condition for the state and American cup contests as well as the Industrial league games. The first game scheduled will be a state cup game with Shawsheen. This game will be played at Forge Village and will be staged as soon as weather permits. Judging from the amount of snow on the field at the present time it will take several days before the field is playable. The last time that the Abbots and Shawsheen met the game ended in a scoreless tie and the Abbots are confident of pinning a defeat on the down river boys when they visit Forge Village.
The sewing class met at the Abbot hall in Forge Village on Tuesday evening and much good work was accomplished.
The long delayed “January thaw” arrived here the early part of the week. It begins to look as though the snow will disappear at last.
Cards have recently been received here from Mrs. F. L. Furbush, who is now spending a few weeks with her son and daughter [nee Helen Marie Furbush], Mr. and Mrs. Owen McNiff in Cocoa, Fla.
A sacred concert in aid of St. Catherine’s church building fund will be held in Forge Village in the near future.
Mrs. J. A. Healy has been on the sick list for the past few days.
James B. Healy of Lowell has been a recent visitor here.
Fore River and the Abbot Worsted soccer teams will clash on Saturday evening at Commonwealth armory, Boston. This is the most important indoor attraction of the season, and one that followers of the kicking game have been looking forward to for weeks. The game was arranged late Wednesday afternoon.
Forge Village. Loyal Mattawanakee lodge, I.O.O.L., M.U., will hold a social dance in Abbot’s hall on Friday evening, April 6. Music by Newell’s orchestra of Marlboro.
West. Miss Persis Ormsby, of Westford academy, spent the weekend at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Ormsby.
News Items. Miss Dorris Farrar has secured a position with the Abbot Worsted Company in Forge Village.
News Items. John H. Hardy is to be manager of the George Drew farm in Westford.