Turner's Public Spirit, May 19, 1923
A look back in time to a century ago
By Bob Oliphant
Center. Grace Hildreth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Hildreth, who underwent an operation for appendicitis at the New England Baptist hospital, Boston, last week, is getting along very nicely.
Mrs. Charles L. Hildreth, who underwent an operation at the Lowell General hospital on last Saturday, is reported as resting comfortably.
“The musical revue,” given under the auspices of the ladies degree team of the Grange, will be presented in the town hall on Wednesday evening, May 23, and promises to bring out a large crowd. There will be informal dancing after the revue.
Miss Ruth Johnson was tendered a surprise miscellaneous shower on last week Friday evening by the ladies of the Sewing club, of which she is a member. The large basket, which held the gifts, was prettily decorated in pink and white, and Miss Johnson was the recipient of many beautiful and useful gifts, which helped to express the good wishes of those present. Dancing and music were enjoyed and during the evening refreshments were served. At a late hour the guests departed for home, having spent a very pleasant evening.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Elliott, of Lowell, have arrived at their summer home.
Eight arrests were made on last Sunday night, six of whom were non-residents. The two former were charged with assault and battery on each other and the other six being charged by Joseph LeClerc with breaking glass in the windows of his store at Forge Village, and assault and battery on Mr. LeClerc.
The dance given by the order of Foresters in the town hall on last week Friday evening brought out a large attendance.
On Friday evening of this week Mrs. A. B. Hartson is conducting a dance in the town hall.
Academy Notes. The annual typewriting contest between teams representing the high schools of Chelmsford, Billerica, Wilmington, Westford and Pepperell was held in the Kimball school, Lowell, last Saturday morning. Chelmsford high won the cup. In addition to the cup Mr. Kimball offered medals to the fastest individual writers on each school team. Genevieve Healy was the winner of the medal on the local team. Others on the Westford team were Charlotte Perry, Herbert Shea and Raymond Shea, Miss Katherine L. Ott, teacher.
The academy ball team is making a good showing this year. On last week Friday they defeated the Ayer team 5 to 4, and on Tuesday defeated the Billerica high by a score of 10 to 9. They played Pepperell high this week Friday.
The prize-speaking contest which will be held in the town hall on Monday evening promises to be of interest to the public. The first prize will be ten dollars; the second five dollars. These prizes are given by the Alumni association of the school. Those who will take part in the contest are Philip Prescott, William Watson, Roger Hildreth, Frank Jarvis, Ethel Ingalls, Hazel Sweetsir [sic, Sweetser], Regina McLenna, Persis Ormsby, Mary Dureault and Alice Socorelis. The girls’ glee club will sing during the evening and Miss Pamelia Precious will give some instrumental music. The admission is free and it is hoped that there will be a large attendance. Don’t forget the date, Monday evening, May 21.
Congregational Church Notes. The regular prayer meetings resumed on Friday evening at eight o’clock. Special prayer meetings at 7:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings.
Sunday services at the regular hours 10:45 and 7:30. Sunday school at noon; C.E. at five o’clock; young people’s meeting at 6:30.
The Ladies’ Aid held a very largely attended all-day meeting at the home of Mrs. William Roudenbush on last week Thursday, twenty-seven being in attendance.
The Ladies’ Aid furnished the pinks at the Congregational church on mother’s day and after the services distributed them among some of the shut-ins and elderly ladies. Such thoughtful acts are greatly appreciated.
The missionary society held an interesting and well attended meeting at the home of Mrs. George H. White on Wednesday afternoon.
About Town. The picturesque Vesper clubhouse on Tyng’s Island on the Merrimack river at Tyngsboro was destroyed by fire on last week Thursday afternoon. The fire companies of Chelmsford and Lowell were summoned and made emergency speed in arriving, but the fire had the best of the start and kept it to the finish. Many of the valuables on the lower second floor were saved. This clubhouse was built in 1905 and cost about $25,000. The secretary of the club, Andrew G. Swapp, said “It couldn’t be duplicated at the present time for less than $60,000, considering the high cost of material and labor.” How much insurance was carried is not yet publicly known, but of course not half enough to replace the building. The cause of the fire, which started in partitions in the upper stories, is supposed to have been caused by defective electrical wiring. Steps have already been taken preliminary to rebuilding at once.
As reported in last week’s issue “The Morning Glory farm has fourteen acres of potatoes just peeking through the ground,” it should have read fourteen bushels. The Morning Glory farmer doesn’t claim to be pressing onto the heels of Aroostook potato growers quite so close as fourteen acres of competition comes to.
- Arthur O’Brien planted twenty bushels of potatoes last week Friday with a Morning Glory potato planter and the Old Oaken Bucket farm finished planting twenty-two bushels. On last week Thursday seventeen bushels were planted with the aforesaid Morning Glory planter; the last five bushels were planted by old-fashioned New England slow, non-skipping hand planting, owing to the shortness of the rows, and nothing for the Glory planter to turn on at one end of the rows except the Brookside mill pond.
In our account of the leasing of the George H. Hartford farm, as reported in last week’s issue, it should have read “to Alfred W. and James B. Hartford, conductor [sic] on the Lowell and Fitchburg electric railroad,” and not John B. Hartford, as reported. This was an error of your correspondent, but not an error of ignorance of the facts, but an error of writing in the wrong names and conscious of doing it at the time, but could not recall the right name until too late to correct it.
Oh no, it was not very bad skating at the Old Oaken Bucket farm last week Friday morning when the weather dropped from 85 in the shade a few days before to 23 in the sun, but the sleighing wasn’t as good as in the following places: Montpelier, Vt., three inches of snow fell, the first snowfall in May for forty years. Snow as reported as far south as Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and other central states report that the snowfall at times assumed the proportion of a winter blizzard. Just how this heat drop of sixty degrees will affect the prospective peach crop in town and other towns cannot accurately be figured as an asset or liability until you pay for your peaches at the harvest terminal. New ploughed ground on Frances hill was frozen into hard chunks Friday morning that required some force to break, and with peach trees only a few rods off on lower lands in full bloom you can draw your own conclusions as to the prospects of peaches on said trees. Our advice is buy your peaches now while the blooming is so beautifully looming.
Your correspondent was misinformed in regard to the acreage burned over in the fire on Oak hill last week. I have it at first hand from a member of the Westford fire company, who was present at the fire, that there were about forty acres burned over, a gain of thirty-nine acres over the first report.
Mrs. Kate Smith Martin announces the marriage of her granddaughter Priscilla Kennard, to Ralph Andrew Fletcher, of Westford, Saturday morning, May 19, at 7:30 o’clock at St. Anne’s church, Lowell.
The Old Oaken Bucket farm had a nice, pleasant, social, chatty time in a visit from Rev. John H. Blair on Monday afternoon and we are promised a similar visit from Rev. Frank B. Crandall and George Henry Brown Turner of Ayer. Come on boys, thus does nature balance up her children with a variety. Anyone who refuses wholesome variety through fear is in sad need of being disciplined by the law of love “that casteth out fear.” There is always some chaff in all social contacts; learn to winnow it out and not shy all contacts that do not bear the ancient label.
Mr. and Mrs. Seth W. Bannister spent Saturday and Sunday at the Bannister homestead, also, the infant Bannister. Mr. Bannister is teaching in the agricultural school in Weymouth.
A precocious youth opinions that the Stony Brook farmers plant too early. Hold on, my youthful brother, for the weather, like some folks, doesn’t improve with age. There have been more icicles to the square inch in May than April, and the Stony Brook farmers are wearing rubber boots and rubber necks stretching for better weather.
First Parish church (Unitarian)—Sunday service at 4 p.m. Preacher, Rev. Frank B. Crandall, the minister. Subject, “The amusement question.” The young people of the parish are to meet this Saturday evening for the purpose of organizing a branch of the National Young People’s Religious Union.
Equal Pay. I read with unanimous delight and unanimous agreement in last week’s issue the article entitled “The equal pay issue” from the original pen of V.T. E. Equal rights and equal pay for the same work and the same quality of work are part of the modern beatitudes, and if equal pay does not follow equal rights then the best part of the equal rights is all used up in shouting about it. To shout equal rights and then deny it in the pay envelope is no better than the spirit of a penurious hypocrite. There is one argument sometimes used against equal pay for Miss School Teacher that V. T. E. did not touch upon, and this is that Miss School Teacher can live cheaper than Mr. School Teacher. Well, now, see here, you miserly, poverty-stricken people, if we are going to grade wages off as per how cheap an individual can live we shall have as many grades of wages as there are hairs on our heads including our eyebrows and eye-winkers, and equal work would be ruled out as a basis of wages and unequal individual living schedule substituted. Such a brain as that ought to be sent to a kindergarten class to take lessons in equity from the scholar at the foot of the class.
It is none of your business, Mr. Society, if a woman can live cheaper than a man. If she can live without rum and cigarettes that is no reason why you should take this surplus nonsense out of her pay envelope.
In an unanswerable manner does V. T. E. close. “The question seems to be simple enough, is it right to ask women to do the same work as men for a less price because of their sex? If it is, why doesn’t somebody get up and prove it? So far in the controversy we have seen no arguments against equal pay. The simple plea is we can’t afford it. It may be simple, but if we are as poor as that we ought to go into bankruptcy and start over again.” For the “start over again” I would substitute “and stay there”; we are not worth a new start.
Spring Weather. There was a heavy frost on Monday morning with icicles on the grass. The folks who did not get their supply of ice last winter do not need to worry, the weather so far this spring is coming their way and they may yet have their innings. But where will the corn come in for innings? So far as heard from, it is a year of extreme low germination for sweet corn. Considerable [sic] less than one-third is germinating and the Old Oaken Bucket farm is about to replant half an acre of sweet corn with rice popcorn. At the close-by Morning Glory farm it’s no better, and much that did germinate the rare heavy frost of May 10, which froze the ground hard, froze to death the sprouts on the corn, and as one neighbor says, “This is a durn pretty pickle.” It is well to remember one thing about a spring like this, when the weather is inclined more towards skating than corn, that sweet corn is the more susceptible to adverse weather conditions than popcorn or old-fashioned New England yellow corn. I am reminded of James Whitcomb Riley’s poem, “When the frost is on the punkin,” but Dear Mr. Riley (by way of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) if the weather keeps at the icicle business we shall not have any “punkins” except the one above our shoulders with neck stem connections; a survival of Darwin’s cave-ape-man.
“Men Who Made Old Harvard.” I read with the usual interest “Men who made old Harvard,” by F. S. Savage, Sr., in last week’s issue. He mentions the Kniffin mowing machine that brought up Old Oaken Bucket farm reminiscences. I recall the first Kniffin mowing machine in Westford. The first one was owned by Levi Snow, the grandfather of Frederick A. Snow. The second one was owned by the Old Oaken Bucket farm, but was of heavy draft. The knives would play at any angle, perpendicular or folded across the crossbar of the shafts, but there did not appear to be any advantage in the knives playing laying across the shafts, for they did not cut much hay that way. Allusion was made last week regretting that our visit to old, picturesque Harvard did not last longer. I regret it so much that I am storing up questions for Teachers No. 1 and No. 2 to answer at the rate of two per second. It is liable to be a faster round than any boxing match party on the ground of the old familiar saying “Any fool can ask questions that the wisest cannot answer.” As it was, our heads were so absent-minded from everything except Emerson’s “Ownership of the landscape” that we lost our way going home; when we should have turned to the left on Oak hill we met the Harvard road scraper on the left side of the road and so we took the right hand road and went down a steep hill where the dirt had evidently been all washed off by Noah’s flood and none been carted on since. After precipitating ourselves over Cobblestone hill we landed at the foot without any breakage of necks or profanity of thought. Turning to the right we landed at the easterly end of the same road that the road scraper came up on, where we should have landed if we had not turned to the left at the foot of Cobblestone hill.
Graniteville. Mrs. O. R. Young and Miss Clara Smith of Hopedale sincerely thank the scholars and friends of Miss C. E. Hewett for their generous help during her illness.
News Items. Westford academy defeated Ayer high school at baseball at the local field last week Friday afternoon by the score of 5 to 4.
District Court. On Tuesday morning six men from Gloucester were before the court as the result of a fracas in Forge Village on Sunday night. It appeared that they started trouble with a Polish resident of that place and after pushing him off the sidewalk chased him into the house of Joseph LeClerc. When they could not get him out of the house they threw stones through the window, and when Mr. LeClerc came out to investigate, the six men treated him roughly also. The men were charged with assault and battery and breaking glass, but at the trial on Tuesday morning Mr. LeClerc seemed reluctant to testify, and as the court could not find out the details of the matter the six men were found not guilty and the costs of the case were assessed on LeClerc.
Two Poles from Forge Village were also before the court on Tuesday morning, charged with mutual assault and battery, and were both found not guilty. Atty. George L. Wilson appeared for one of them and Atty. John D. Carney for the other.