Turner's Public Spirit, March 3, 1923
A look back in time to a century ago
By Bob Oliphant
Center. The play, “A foul tip,” which was given by the Young People’s league on Thursday evening of last week at the town hall, proved a marked success and brought out a large crowd. The young folks were at their best and the play was thoroughly enjoyed by all present. The following young people took part: Otis Day, Nathaniel Phillips, Raymond Prescott, Clifford Johnson, Raymond Shea, Herbert Shea, Lawrence, Ethel and Gladys Ingalls, and Alice Swenson. The young people were assisted by Mrs. Florence Hanscom, who acted as coach, and much of the success was due to her efforts.
The Grange met on Thursday evening with Prof. Frank Waugh of the Massachusetts Agricultural college as the speaker of the evening, who gave an address on “Forestry.” A box party was also enjoyed.
Mrs. David Scott has been spending a few days with friends in Somerville.
The next meeting of the Ladies’ Aid of the Congregational church will be an all-day affair as usual, and will be held at the home of Mrs. George A. Walker.
Friday evening meeting at the Congregational church at eight o’clock. “The marriage supper,” the last of the series of sermons, will be the pastor’s subject on Sunday morning. Sunday school at noon. Special meeting of the Junior C.E. at the home of Mrs. John Felch at 4:30. New members will be received. The young people’s meeting will be held at 6:30. Congregational singing is a feature of the Sunday evening services at 7:15.
The regular suppers of the Ladies’ Aid society will be resumed this month on Wednesday, March 7. The supper will be under the direction of Miss Edna Sargent. An attractive program is being arranged. Supper served at 6:30.
Bertram Sutherland, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo Sutherland, who is on a trip to California, is at present the guest of his uncle in San Jose.
Mrs. Clarence Hildreth entertained the Missionary society on Wednesday afternoon. The topic of the day was “India” and proved very interesting. Miss May Day read a letter from a missionary friend in India, and Mrs. John Felch read an interesting letter from the Chandler Normal school of Lexington, Ky., thanking the ladies for the barrel of clothing and five dollars which they sent to them. [paper tear, line missing] and at the close of the meeting refreshments were served by the hostess, Mrs. Hildreth.
The meetings of the Legion and Auxiliary have been postponed until further notice owing to the bad traveling.
Mr. and Mrs. George Kimball, daughter Jennie and Master Roy, were holiday guests of Mr. and Mrs. Coyne, of Charlestown.
Misses Mary and Dorothy Grant spent the weekend in town as the guests of their aunt, Mrs. Harry Whiting.
The fire department answered a still alarm for a chimney fire at the home of Perley Wright on Wednesday morning of last week.
Westford Center people who attended the Abbot-Baron nuptials Thursday, February 22, were Mr. and Mrs. Julian Cameron, Alexander Cameron, Misses Eleanor and Marjory Cameron, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Abbot, Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Hildreth, Mrs. J. Herbert Fletcher and Robert Abbot. Mr. Abbot is a member of one of the oldest and best known families of the town, and has many friends in town who wish him much happiness. Mrs. Abbot’s grandmother on her father’s side was also a native of Westford, being of the Smith family, who resided on the Groton road some years ago.
Wedding. One of the prettiest weddings of the winter season was that in which Edward Moseley Abbot of Westford and Lowell and Miss Natalie Swan Baron of Lowell were united in marriage on Thursday afternoon, February 22, at All Souls church, Lowell. The ceremony was performed at 4:30 o’clock by Rev. Arthur C. McGiffert, Jr., pastor of All Saints church. The bride was given away by her brother, Gerald Baron of Columbus, O. The bride was attended by a maid-of-honor and four bridesmaids, the former being Miss Gwendolyn Swan Baron, her sister. The bridesmaids were Mrs. Blanchard Pratt, Mrs. Matthew Mahonty and Miss Priscilla Kennard [who would marry Ralph A. Fletcher in Westford on May 19, 1923], all of Lowell, and Miss Eleanor Kissam of Queens, Long Island, N.Y. The best man was John Moseley Abbot, a brother of the bridegroom.
The gown worn by the bride was her mother’s wedding dress and was of ivory satin with an Elizabethan collar of duchess and rose-point lace, cut with a court train of satin. The wedding veil was of duchess lace and was caught up with orange blossoms. The bride carried a shower bouquet of lilies-of-the-valley and orchids. The maid-of-honor wore a dress of light blue taffeta, bouffant style, over silver cloth and old lace. Her hat was of blue taffeta to match her gown. She carried a bouquet of variegated flowers. The bridesmaids’ dresses were of pink taffeta, but bouffant style. They wore pink taffeta hats, faced with blue and trimmed with taffeta flowers and carried bouquets of spring flowers.
Following the ceremony at All Souls church, there was a reception at the home of the bride’s mother, Mrs. Charles C. Baron, of Lowell.
The ushers included Charles Abbot Stevens, Allan D. Parker, Blanchard D. Pratt and Russell Smith of Lowell and Harold L. Chalifoux, Dr. George O. Clark, Herbert Spencer Allen and Joseph A. Locke of Boston.
The decorations at both the home and church were most attractive. At the home of the bride’s mother southern smilax was effectively arranged. Palms, southern smilax and lilies were massed about the altar and at points of vantage in the church.
Among the guests at the wedding were Richard Baron of Annapolis, a brother of the bride, and Mrs. C. C. Born of Columbus, O.
Following the reception Mr. and Mrs. Abbot left on a wedding trip and on Saturday sailed from New York on the Adriatic for a Mediterranean cruise. They will also visit Egypt. Mr. and Mrs. Abbot expect to return about May 1.
The bridegroom is the son of Mrs. Abiel J. Abbot and is vice president of the Abbot Worsted Co. The bride is prominent in social circles in Lowell.
Mr. and Mrs. Abbot will be home to their friends at Westford after July 1.
About Town. It has been very interesting lately seeing Hamilton Phillips, son of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Phillips, at Westford depot, out for a ride on his sled drawn by his dog. The dog is quite a wonder and well-trained by Nathaniel and Hamilton Phillips. The dog is part shepherd and part collie and they got him when he was four weeks old. Now, at the age of ten months, he has been so well trained that he draws the younger boy, Hamilton, long distances on the sled. He has a well-fitting harness and seems to thoroughly enjoy carrying his little master around. He has taken him on distances of three miles and return, to Westford Center, to Graniteville and to Billson’s Corner in West Chelmsford. Hamilton carries some lumps of sugar or some food to treat his pet when they stop to rest before making the homeward trip. The dog can also sit up on his haunches and sing, and he also shakes hands.
Some things to encourage—Middlesex county continues to lead all others in the United States in the number of boys and girls enrolled in club work. There were 2995 enrolled in various projects and they produced $75,475 worth of products during the year. All of these young people were under the leadership of the County Bureau and 184 paid and volunteer local leaders. This we quote from the Chelmsford town report for 1922. Results justify the expenditure.
In continuation of some things to encourage us, the deposits in the savings banks in 1922 exceeded the deposits of 1921 by $1,500,000, which goes to show that our poverty is more in barking about it than in the proven facts.
William H. Hudson, the famous naturalist, who has recently passed on, left all of his money to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. No foolish America-go-as-you-please-open-season-yellow-legged-bag-limit-nonsense does he want.
“Patrick county, Virginia, has an apple tree 120 years old, 12 feet in circumference, 74 feet spread, and averages 132 bushels of apples a year.” No wonder apples are cheap.
Rev. O. Singleton, of Kentucky, on his “Busy Bee Farm,” raised a sunflower last year that measured sixteen inches in diameter and contained over 3000 seeds which measure over two pints. Not to discourage the rest of sunny sunflower folks, it does seem as if the “over” might have been omitted from the story. What the circumference was around this sunflower he does not tell. As minister with this sunflower on his farm he will have no trouble in believing Jonah and the whale literally.
Joe Wall, our efficient game and fish warden, has received twenty snowshoe rabbits from Boxport [probably Bucksport is meant], Me., to liberate. As the efficient vice president of the Lowell Fish and Game association, he is in position to get a few special favors and we ought to boost Vice President Wall to a position as deputy state game warden. He has all the qualifications for it. We nominate him and also second the nomination. If this is construed as a monopoly of privilege, we got the right from congress, where a member sometimes speaks several days in order to keep some other member from having his say on a subject.
The funeral of Joseph A. Spurr was held at his home in Lowell last week Tuesday. Rev. Joseph P. Kennedy of the Highland Methodist church and Rev. Oliver W. Hutchinson of Norwood conducted the services. The Grand Army service was read by Franklin S. Pevey of Post 185. The Ladies’ Auxiliary Circle No. 8 performed the flag service. Many beautiful flowers were sent by friends. Verses written by Mr. Spurr a short time before his death were read. The bearers from the Sons of Veterans were Commander Wesley M. Wilder, Arthur H. Slater, Lucius A. Derby, Frank Bartlett, Ray S. Byam, and James E. Webster. Charles A. Blodgett of this town had charge. Mr. Spurr’s wife was Lommie Blodgett, of this town.
Master Charles Lydiard, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Lydiard, who live on the Charles W. Parker farm, is visiting his grandfather, Charles W. Parker, of Boston, proprietor of the New England hotel.
Miss Jennie Ferguson is having a week’s vacation from her school in Springfield.
Mrs. William Woods has been spending a few days with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Ferguson. Mrs. Ferguson has the grippe.
The Abbot-Baron wedding was attended by the Abbot and Cameron families and a few friends from this town. A special car from Boston brought the friends and relatives from that section. Richard Baron, brother of the bride, who is attending Annapolis, was granted leave of absence for the occasion.
At a meeting of the school committee last week W. R. Taylor was elected as chairman, and Arthur G. Hildreth as secretary of the board for 1923. Dr. C. A. Blaney was elected as school physician.
Henry A. Fletcher, you natural naturalist, we want to tell you foxes abound and bound through the abounding snow. One was seen last week attempting to break and enter the hennery at the old Capt. Peletiah Fletcher place on the Lowell road [54 Lowell Rd.]. The fox intended breaking and entering with premeditatory [sic] intention evidently of committing larceny and going into the poultry business all by his lonesome.
At one time there was a worriment lest we would not have any ice to harvest, and now the worriment has changed to lest we will not have anything else to harvest.
Joseph H. Sargent is having a lot of lumber sawed at the Oscar R. Spalding portable saw mill located on Keyes’ brook, near Lake Burgess [i.e., Burge’s Pond].
There were 880 acres of forests burned over last year in Westford, which cost the town $982.97 to extinguish. The largest fire on Oak hill, 800 acres, extended over into Tyngsboro and called out the fire departments of Westford, Tyngsboro, Chelmsford and Dunstable. This fire was caused by a get-away brush fire and set without a permit. The case was taken to court and a fine of $20 and costs was imposed. How much was this per acre?
State Police Officer Hackett, who made an official visit to the town last week Sunday, after looking over the town, reported “There is need of another policeman in uniform.” This seems to be confirmed by reading the report of Harry Whiting, chief of police, as found in the annual town report. By that report he handled over 100 cases of complaints, investigations and arrests.
There seems to be a feeling abroad that Chelmsford, of which Westford was originally a part, is much larger in territory than Westford, but the reverse is true. Chelmsford has 13,000 acres and Westford 18,000 acres as per assessors’ returns, but as per the survey map of the town by Edward Symmes several years ago  Westford had 19000 acres, but of course we have had a great many dry seasons since then and may have shrunk 1000 acres. Would it be well to have a new survey of the town with all its modern changed conditions?
As bearing on the shortage of the ice crop a Boston vessel loaded with coal is anchored off Eastport, Me., on the Canadian side of the St. Croix river, which now has six feet of ice in it. The vessel expects to remain there until the song of the mosquito arrives and we shall not need any coal.
The selectmen have opened and awarded the bids for appointive town officers and the following are the winners: Fish and game warden, Joseph Wall; sealer of weights and measures, Albert A. Hildreth; cattle inspector, Jack Healy; superintendent of roads, J. Austin Healy. The bids for chief of police were all unsatisfactory and turned down, and new bids called for. The present chief of police, Harry L. Whiting, has been efficiently satisfactory. Now is it wise to risk a change for the sake of reducing the tax rate a cent’s worth? This is not to be construed as derogatory of the other candidates, for we don’t know who they are. But there is as the old saying hath it, “Saving at the tap and losing at the bung.”
The Old Oaken Bucket farm has recently received a package of early beans from our former townsman, Gilbert F. Wright, of Chelmsford. He states that the beans will stand 8 below zero and will grow in the snow. That hits us just right, Mr. Wright—winter planting for us.
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur O’Brien (Mildred Green), who were recently married, have returned from their wedding trip and are at the O’Brien farm.
Mr. and Mrs. Roy Keizer and daughter, from Berlin, arrived on Washington’s birthday to visit Mrs. Keizer’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Quincy Day. Mr. Keizer has returned home, leaving Mrs. Keizer and daughter here for a longer visit.
Last week Edward Abbot was presented by those who are connected with the mill at Brookside with several beautiful silver pieces.
Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Snow were among those who enjoyed the Masonic concert at the Auditorium on the evening of February 22.
The second book in the music education series by Ginn & Company has come out. There are to be eight in all. In this second book, as in the first, there are a good many poems by Mrs. William R. Taylor, which have been set to music. Miss Helen Leavitt has composed some of the music. We have heard that these books are in great favor with the teachers everywhere. These two copies have been placed in our own library.
Foxes are very common in the Stony Brook Valley these days. Their tracks are to be seen in the snow and sometimes the foxes themselves. The snow has been too deep for the hunters to be out for their game. The foxes are very hungry and daring now. On Monday afternoon we had the good fortune to see one—as we were looking out of our western window, just before sunset, and spied a large red fox on the western slope just beyond Tadmuck brook on Guy Decatur’s land. We had a splendid chance to watch his maneuvers and he certainly was “foxy.”
Mrs. Carlos D. Cushing, of Miami, Fla., mother of Mrs. William R. Taylor, was recently knocked down by a careless bicycle rider, which made her a “shut-in” for a while. When she was able to go out to the park and hear Arthur Pryor’s band, the famous conductor came over to greet her, brought his baby granddaughter for her to see and asked what favorite pieces she would like to have the band play.
Master Stanley L. Snow and Master Warren Dean, of West Chelmsford, read at the reception for Supt. and Mrs. Frame on Monday evening in Chelmsford. Mr. Frame is going to a good position in the Greater Boston district.
The Alliance will hold an all-day meeting at the home of Mrs. J. Herbert Fletcher on next Thursday.
Past and Future. “We are not obliged to build schoolhouses for the future.” I want to know if we have got down to that view of life? Cut down all of our fruit trees before we leave earth for the elsewhere country and let the other fellow do his own planning. It they want shade trees for refreshment and beauty, let them “sit under their own vine and fig tree” [Micah 4:4] and not under ours. Why reforest the reckless waste that the past has donated us? And this is a vital point and illustration of the past and present caring nothing for the future. Shall we continue to be as foolish for the future as the past has been towards the present, or shall we come the town meeting wisdom act “We are not obliged to provide forests for the future.”?
Nature has decreed that we cannot burn all bridges after us. We are compelled to leave the earth for other fellows. But let us slap Nature in the face and burn all the bridges to better living that we can. Let the future do its own bridge-building. Such is town meeting wisdom and logic in regard to building the new schoolhouse at Forge Village.
As a town we are worth several million dollars and so poor in our heads that we cannot afford suitable modern school accommodations. In some respects it is to be regretted that Forge Village was ever set off from Groton to Westford on September 10, 1730. Before this set-off the line of Groton on the west included nearly all of Forge Village, thence the line ran close by the present Episcopal chapel over Stony Brook and over Stony Brook railroad (or would have run over it if it had been there to run over), thence over Kissicook hill west of the town farm building and thence crossing the old stage coach road from Lowell to Groton (now called Groton road) to the present bound on Millstone hill at the intersection of Westford, Groton and Tyngsboro (then Dunstable), just a little northeast of Blodgett Brothers’ farm.
If some one or more in 1730 had only kept still and not petitioned to be set off, Groton would have our schoolhouse worriment, but perhaps they have got enough to worry over without it. Richard Shaw says so, and since he has quit someone else has started in where Shaw left off, and with more serious solemnity. For a confirmation, read the warrant for the last annual town meeting in Groton.
In looking over the original and revised boundary between Groton and Westford, both lines left us our town home (poor farm originally) where we poor taxpayers can go after taking the poor debtor’s oath on the Forge Village schoolhouse. If we cannot hurrah for the Forge Village schoolhouse let us come down with a unanimous cheer and hurrah for the town home and keep up the cheering and hurrahing until the last taxpayer is admitted.
Library Notes. The two books, “Introductory music” and “Songs of childhood,” which contain verses written by Mrs. W. R. Taylor, have been purchased and can now be borrowed from the library.
The annual religious book week is to be again observed by booksellers, libraries and churches March 4-10. This year the J. V. Fletcher library will join in the movement started three years ago. “Good books build character” is the slogan given on a poster which contains a fine portrait of Lincoln. Some of the books which will be displayed on the table in the reading room are the following: “Mary Slessor of Calabar,” the life of a missionary in Africa, which is as exciting as a novel; “The meaning of faith,” a devotional book by Harry Fosdick; “Orient in bible times,” by Grant, a history of bible times; “The Syrian Christ,” by Rihbany, a native of Palestine, who interprets the customs of the bible from his own knowledge of the country, and “Human nature in the bible,” by William L. Phelps.
Graniteville. Both masses in St. Catherine’s church Sunday morning were celebrated by the pastor, Rev. A. S. Malone and were largely attended. Sunday school was held at two p.m., followed by stations of the cross and benediction. After the services the regular meeting of the Women’s Sodality was held.
The usual Lenten devotions were held in St. Catherine’s church on Wednesday and Friday evening.
The members of the Brotherhood held a maple sugar party after their regular meeting in the M. E. church vestry on Wednesday evening.
Mrs. Minnie Gray, who has been under the care of a physician as a result of a severe throat trouble, is now feeling much improved.
The Abbot Worsted soccer team of Forge Village have now perfected arrangements for its game with the J. & P. Coats team of Pawtucket, R.I., on next Saturday. This is a national cup contest being the semifinal for the eastern championship. The Abbots are the present leaders in the industrial league, while the Coats club is tied with Bethlehem Steel in the American League. The Coats are one of the best soccer teams in the country and the Abbots will surely have to step lively to land a victory from the “Little Rhody” team. The Forge Village boys are in fine shape and trained to the minute. It will surely be a great contest. A special train will convey the Abbot fans to Pawtucket, leaving Forge Village at 11 a.m. and going via Ayer and Worcester. The Abbot Worsted Co. band of 35 pieces with J. P. Larkin leader, will accompany the fans. On arrival at Pawtucket the crowd, headed by the band and mounted police, will march from the depot to the playing field. The game will start at 3 p.m. The special train will leave Pawtucket on the homeward trip at 7 p.m., arriving in Forge Village about 9:30 p.m. Weather permitting it will surely be a great day.
West. Miss Persis Ormsby, of Westford, spent the weekend with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Ormsby.
Notes: William Henry Hudson (1841-1922) was an Anglo-Argentine novelist, naturalist and ornithologist. He was born to parents who had immigrated to Argentina from New England to become sheep farmers. In 1874 Hudson immigrated to England where he spent most of the rest of his life. He left an estate valued at £8,225. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Henry_Hudson.