Center. Schools closed on Wednesday afternoon for the Thanksgiving vacation, lasting until Monday.
A call has been extended to Rev. O. L. Brownsey, of Northbridge Center, to become pastor of the Congregational church. Mr. Brownsey, who has occupied the pulpit two Sundays as a candidate, has accepted, and expects to get his goods moved next week and to begin his duties at once.
Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Prescott have moved to Lowell, where Mr. Prescott is employed in the cartridge shop.
Mrs. [Isaac] Edmund Day [nee Lucy Maria Whiting] observed her eighty-sixth birthday anniversary on last Saturday, which found her in good health, good spirits and the cheerful, appreciative outlook upon life, which makes the passing years worth while. Relatives came from Groton to spend the day and Mrs. Day was also the recipient of cards, gifts, greetings and good wishes from other friends. A handsome birthday cake, with initial and the dates 1832-1918, helped celebrate the event.
A daughter [Doris Signhild Peterson] was born to Mr. and Mrs. Peterson on Tuesday [Nov. 26]—a very welcome little visitor come to join a family of three sturdy brothers.
Mr. and Mrs. James L. Kimball spent the holiday with relatives in Quincy, and after having spent the autumn months in Westford, will go for the winter to Boston.
Mr. and Mrs. George F. White entertained a large family group at their home on Thanksgiving.
Mr. and Mrs. Abiel J. Abbot go this week to spend the winter months at Hotel Somerset, Boston.
A son [Gordon Hosmer MacDougall] was born to Mr. and Mrs. Allister MacDougall at their home in Northampton this week [Nov. 25, 1918]. Word also comes to the Westford relatives of the birth of a son to Mr. and Mrs. Ray Hamlin.
G. B. Watson is a patient at the Lowell General hospital, where he underwent an operation last Saturday. The operation was a serious and delicate one, caused from diseased conditions from a tooth. Mr. Watson is much better, but while the dressings are necessary will have to remain at the hospital.
Guests of Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Wheeler for over the holiday were Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Manchester, Arthur Manchester, Jr., and Miss Laura E. Manchester, of Newport, R.I.
Members of the Tadmuck club are again reminded of the club’s annual guest night to be held at the Congregational church on Tuesday evening at eight o’clock. Mrs. George F. White is the hostess for the evening and with an efficient committee is making attractive plans. Mrs. Frederick A. Snow has the entertainment in charge and has plans for a pleasant evening of music and readings. With the return to more nearly normal conditions an affair of this kind should be entered into with good spirit, and a good attendance is expected. Members are kindly reminded that annual dues should be paid to Mrs. Perley E. Wright in order to secure the guest tickets, which Mrs. Wright also has in charge.
The regular Red Cross meeting was omitted this week owing to the holiday, but will hold its regular meeting next week, and there is much necessary work on relief work for those in the war countries made so destitute and not yet able to help themselves as they [will] be later. There is to be a collection of clothing for Belgian relief, to be made at once. Please be as prompt in this matter as possible and bring your contributions to Library hall on library days, to be left in the upper rooms. Any clothing that can be mended is also acceptable. There has also come an appeal, this one for hospital furnishings, such as sheets, pillow slips, towels, handkerchiefs and napkins. Anyone wishing to help in this matter please communicate with the Red Cross chairman, Mrs. H. V. Hildreth.
Company L, M.S.G., held its regular weekly drill at the town hall on Tuesday evening.
About Town. The first farmers’ institute of the season, under the auspices of Middlesex-North Agricultural society, will be held at the town hall, Westford on Friday, December 13. The subject for the morning will be “Profitable farming in Eastern Massachusetts—at this time is it profitable to grow more grain?”; for the afternoon, “Fruit growing in Middlesex county, should it be increased and in what lines?” Dinner will be furnished by the ladies of the Union church. Wit and wisdom will be loosed from its bondage at the after-dinner recess. The writer has not been informed yet who will speak on the above topics, but announcement will be made next week.
Most all of us remember Charles W. Decatur, a native of the Lowell road, Westford, and one of the bright boys in the new old Stony Brook school. Here in town he spent his boyhood days, and in early manhood he went to Roseville, Cal., and entered business as carpenter contractor, and as such was successful. News now comes to Westford to his sister, Mrs. Frank C. [Aurilla Mary] Wright, of serious illness in his family from the widespread influenza. Of his three children, Clarence, four years old, has died. His wife and other two children are ill, and Charles is seriously ill, with lungs badly affected. His wife will be remembered as Miss Rose Adams, of Groton. Albert Decatur, long a familiar figure on the Lowell road, who is living in California with his brother, is just recovering from the influenza; also, Mr. Tracy, of Groton.
Mrs. Mabel Bayer, of Boston, the daughter of the late Albert E. Jenne [and wife of Charles W. Bayer], who died last week [Nov. 18 in Boston], was brought to town on Wednesday [Nov. 20] of last week and buried in Fairview cemetery. She was forty-seven years [11 months and 23 days] old. On last week Friday the remains of Miss Dorris G. Jenne were brought to town for burial in Fairview cemetery. She was a granddaughter of the late Albert E. Jenne [and daughter of Gardner E. and Eva A. Jenne]. She died in Boston [Nov. 20] at the age of nineteen years.
The Grange was enthusiastically attended at the last meeting, when the third and fourth degrees were conferred. The ladies degree team exemplified the third degree and the regular officers the fourth degree. This was followed by the election of officers, which resulted as follows: Clyde Prescott, m.; Fred A. Hanscom, o.; Fred Smith, lect.; Mrs. Frank C. Wright, sec.; Alonzo H. Sutherland, treas.; Clifford Johnson, stew.; Austin Fletcher, asst. stew.; Marion and Mildred Fletcher, Edna Sargent, Graces; Elvira Judd, l.a.s.; Fred A. Blodgett, member of executive committee. It was voted to send the master-elect and lecturer-elect as delegates to the meeting of the State Grange, which meets in Springfield on next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A light lunch was served.
The farm and personal property of E. H. Schofield [sic], Main street, was sold at auction on Tuesday. The weather was bracing the ground with frost, so that farming was held up, and a large crowd gathered. The dinner was another incentive to a crowd. There was a tendency to bid as an exercise to keep warm, and prices felt the exercise. There was a great variety of running ware. The farm, consisting of eighty acres, woodland, fruit land, mowing land and trout brooks, house and barn was sold to Oscar R. Spalding for $4800. The Schofields have bought a small village farm in Billerica.
Representative-elect James H. Wilkins, of Carlisle, invited the republican town committees of the towns comprising the eleventh Middlesex district to a supper and social in the vestry of the Unitarian church, Carlisle, last Saturday evening. Among those who responded from Westford were Hon. Herbert E. Fletcher, Alfred W. Hartford and Herbert H. Hildreth. A break-down of automobile machinery prevented others from attending.
The next meeting of Middlesex-North Pomona Grange will be held in Odd Fellows’ hall, Lowell, Friday, December 6. The election of officers will take place in the morning, and interesting lectures are on the program in the afternoon, open to the public.
Mrs. Frank C. Wright, who does unusually well in the poultry line, had city orders for dressed poultry. She had twenty-four fowl for the market, which totaled 145 pounds when dressed, an average of six pounds apiece.
The West Chelmsford Methodist church had a splendid harvest concert last Sunday at six o’clock. Mrs. H. E. Fletcher, the energetic superintendent, had charge. Miss Margaret Reid very capably drilled the children. It was a good concert and the church full of people enjoyed it. Around the pulpit were grouped baskets of potatoes, apples and vegetables, boxes of cereal, etc., which people had brought as a thanksgiving contribution for Miss O’Leary’s home for children in Lowell. A table was full of preserves and jellies. There was a generous collection of money taken in the evening.
After having expended nearly half a million dollars on a constitutional convention that was authorized to prepare soothing syrups for our sufferings, it is not improbable that it was an unconstitutional convention, for in the early farback it was discovered that the constitution made no provisions for amendments, and a law was passed that in substance says: “That all amendments to the constitution must originate with the legislature, pass two successive legislatures and then be submitted to the people.” The supreme court in 1823 decided that a constitutional convention was unconstitutional. Well, what are we going to do with our long-sufferings and short-comings after having spent our dear money to stretch the constitution so as to cover up the public ills of private life?
Now that we have got the fellow down [i.e., Germany defeated] after a costly struggle in life and finance, the world question is what shall we do with him? Shall we demand “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?” This lacks brains to some extent. Any ox that gets the upper hand can gore another. Or shall we try “He that would smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also, of “If a man take away thy coat, give him they cloak also?” These standards are ideal. But we are not squinting that way, for it is a lonesome road and the load is heavy. Whatever we mete out let us not get the worst of the metre by a recoil on the method and severity of vengeance. As far as William H. Kaiser [i.e., Kaiser Wilhelm II] & Company is concerned, it might be well to let the allied armies hang a suitable warning on the Christmas tree or suitably hang him to the tree.
At the meeting of the Grange Thursday evening, December 5, Mr. Trask, of the Middlesex County Farm Bureau, department of canning and food conservation, will be present and address the meeting, which will be open to the public. The prizes offered for canning will be awarded at this time. This address will be illustrated by stereopticon and will be a live affair worth the while to attend.
The electrics to Tyngsboro must continue to run and all other “don’t’ pay” in spots, as per order of the public services commission.
Recent Address. Rev. Louis H. Buckshorn spoke before the Tadmuck club on last week Tuesday afternoon. His informal talk was on “Current events—home and abroad.” At the beginning of his remarks he referred to an article in a recent number of the North American Review. It dealt with the ideals and idealism of the returning army from France, where men and women had spent themselves for humanity and democracy. The article was beautiful in its spirit, noble in its hope, and manful in its forecast of what our returning soldiers would be to us. Purged in the great fire of unselfish aims and sacrifices, they would transform us and our country to their own high ideals and action.
Every soldier will come to some village, town or city in this country. He already knows in a measure what has been the relation of our thought and activity to the battle over there for humanity and democracy. What answer shall he find in his village or town when he returns as to what has been done for humanity and democracy in his own town or village?
For more than thirty to forty years the burden of patriotic education has rested largely upon our public schools. Upon these schools rested the assimilation of the great mass of non-English speaking children and making known to them our ideals and aims as a free nation. Most of the towns and villages in New England have been indulgent to the teacher as a social part of the community and what she gets as a wage. In the past three years the teacher who has had a salary of $800 a year has received money that only had a purchasing power of about $385, because the majority of things she has to buy to eat and to wear have gone up all of 100 percent.
Suppose the boys come home from France with their generous ideals and still find the old difference as to whether the teacher has a hospitable place, that mothers never attend a common meeting between themselves and the teacher, that men in all ranks and walks of war thought and war-raised wages and income had mostly forgotten these teachers in pittances that are not a living wage?
Suppose the boys come back and find a changed interest that includes the humanity and the democracy of a district nurse in the town of Westford? That in Westford homes where little children are sick and famished, where parents are both sick with prevailing epidemics, want and poverty may feel the humanity and democracy of a nurse? Where mothers and fathers in the epidemic period turned with anxious appeals to neighboring cities for much needed help in nursing, and turned in vain? Learned that Westford had added to its item of yearly expense the same wise provision of nursing that it now does in its town treasurer, in its legal needs, in its balloting needs, in short every need, except the great humanitarian need of nurse for all ranks and classes? That rich and poor, like the stricken on the fields of battle, could get first aid through the new spirit that had been caught up from the fields of France?
Suppose the boys come home from France, and learn that there were thirty to forty men in the town of Westford who had given up two days’ wages at their own shops and work, and had given these two days’ labor in repairing our electric car line track, and saved the line to the town in that way when men could not be hired because of labor scarcity?
Turn the question around. Suppose the boys come home and find the car line abandoned because these thirty to forty men could not be found; every man so very busy for himself, while they were fighting the battle for humanity and democracy in filth, in privation, in suffering, in death with Pershing in Picardy?
Into the English and American tongue the word Hun has crept once more through the brutality of a spirit that cared for nothing but itself. It did what it wanted, it took what it wanted, it destroyed what it wanted. It thought it was master of all things and all men by a supreme disregard of rights and obligations.
When the boys come back that word will receive a broader application. Wherever in American life there shall be a disregard for the common rights and obligations man owes to man, and to the continuity in which he lives, there will he apply the word Hun. Wherever he shall find the spirit of care for right and obligation man to man, and man to community, it will be poilu, the allied spirit. Two stories came to me recently that make this clear: When the gunning season opened a farmer had an uncut piece of grain in one of his fields. He saw a man with a gun stalk through, knocking the ripened grain right and left. The farmer protested, and asked the man to go around the grain and do his shooting without destroying the grain. The answer to that was oaths and abusive talk. The other story was where death had come and taken away father and husband—a life spent in noble service to the town. The apples hung on the trees; and hung and hung. And one day someone telephoned about the apples. They were neither sold, nor could she get anyone to pick them. And the man making the inquiry said, “I’ll be up with my man tomorrow and pick them for you.”
And that is the allied spirit that must be borne anew in all our New England towns and villages as we face France and those returning thence. As we make these events current in our midst that we shall be worthy of the events that are current over there.
Graniteville. A service flag has recently been raised at St. Catherine’s church which contains forty-five stars, denoting the number of young men serving the nation; also, three gold stars that bear united testimony to the three gallant boys who have made the supreme sacrifice—Privates Adlat J. Langley, Napoleon J. Lanctot and Charles Smith.
Mrs. Lillian McLenna, Misses Inez McLenna, Etta May and Alice C. Sheahan, of Lowell, have been recent visitors here.
Sergt. George D. Wilson, who has been stationed at a southern camp for the past two months, has recently returned to his home here. It is understood that he has received his honorable discharge, having been mustered out a few days previous to his coming home.
All the mills and shops were closed here as usual for the holiday.
The motion picture shows will be held here on every Monday and Wednesday evenings, with a change of program each week.
Fire. The large barn of Hammett D. Wright, in the northern part of the village, together with its contents of several tons of hay, were totally destroyed by fire last Saturday night, shortly after ten o’clock. No cause for the fire can be assigned, but was probably due to tramps or some other carless persons who were using the premises for a rest camp. Mr. and Mrs. Wright are in Washington, D.C., where they were called recently by the illness of their son. The barn, which has been used for storing hay, was located some little distance from the other farm buildings, as well as outside the water district, and this made it quite impossible to save it from destruction, as the fire had gained considerable headway before being discovered. The destroyed building was a familiar old landmark and to many of the older residents was known as the “Old Tyd” barn. It was repaired some four years ago. The burning hay added to the blaze and the latter could be observed for miles around.
Forge Village. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith have received a letter of condolence from the minister of militia and defense in Canada in the death of Charles, Jr., who was recently killed in France.
The services at St. Andrew’s mission will be held at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon instead of 4:30, the usual hour. Rev. Angus Dun sends out a request to every member of the parish to be present, as a letter of importance from Bishop Lawrence is to be read and acted upon.
The schools of the town closed on Wednesday for the remainder of the week.
Mrs. Mary B. Raynes, supervisor of music in the town of Westford, is training a large number of people in community singing at Symphony hall, Boston, every Sunday afternoon.
Miss Elizabeth Plummer held a sale of aprons, cushions and fancy articles at the home of Miss Lawrence during the week of November 16. Profits of the sale were given for the benefit of the Westford branch of the Red Cross, and Miss Plummer has sent the sum of $14.50 to Mrs. Hildreth.
Mrs. J. E. Burnett and little son Leonard, of Clinton, visited recently at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Burnett.
Mrs. E. B. Guyer was a recent guest at Pine Ridge, the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Pyne.
Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Connell, of West Graniteville, are moving to a house in this village.
Miss Sara Precious spent the Thanksgiving holidays with relatives in Townsend.
Those having clothing for the Belgian refugees are requested to leave the same with Mrs. William Baker or Mrs. William Precious. Clothing of all kinds is needed and it is hoped many will contribute. Linen is also needed for the hospitals. It has been suggested that every family be asked to contribute to this cause, handkerchiefs, sheets, pillow slips and towels being wanted. No canvass for these articles will be undertaken, but please do what you can. A quick response would be appreciated, as this is only for this week.
The movies are drawing a large number every week. There are pictures for the older ones and humorous ones to suit the little folks.
Center. About twenty soldiers from Camp Devens gave an entertainment in Memorial hall this week Friday evening, under the auspices of Phoebe Weston Farmer tent, D. of V. A miscellaneous program was given, a juggler and comedian being among the attractions. Music for dancing and during the entertainment program was furnished by the Glee club orchestra from the camp.
News Items. Thanksgiving was observed in the usual quiet way with many visitors from outside towns and cities. Many from town took occasion to go to the camp, where there were many attractions for the boys there. Twenty thousand soldiers, one-half of all in the camp, were given passes to go home over the holiday. Those who were obliged to stay in camp had everything possible done for their enjoyment, including a first class turkey dinner and entertainments of various kinds.
“The middle window,” a thrilling mystery, in three acts, was presented by a student cast from Harvard university and Radcliffe college at the Soldiers’ club, West street, Monday evening before an audience that filled the large auditorium to the doors. That the play was much appreciated was shown by the frequent and hearty applause that greeted the efforts of the players. Between the acts war songs were sung under the leadership of R. K. Atkinson.
John F. Luce, a member of the Depot Brigade at Camp Devens, was arrested in Burlington, Vt., Monday, for the murder of Albert N. Prentiss, messenger agent at the Union station in that city. Luce started from the camp to go to his home in Troy, N.Y., but got on the wrong train and found himself in Burlington. Prentiss discovered him later on top of a car attached to a south bound train and placed him under arrest, when Luce stabbed him in the face, severing an artery. Death resulted soon afterwards.
Col. George L. Byroads, camp executive and Depot Brigade commander, is ill with influenza at the base hospital.
The first act in demobilizing the soldiers at the camp occurred on this week Friday, when 200 soldiers were honorably discharged. The enemy aliens and neutral aliens, who have been released from service, were given plain discharges, such as are issued for physical disability.
A large crowd of soldiers and civilians greatly enjoyed a concert given by a Metropolitan opera star of New York city, Thanksgiving night at the soldiers’ club.
Leroy Douglas, a private at Camp Devens, was killed at North Billerica on Thursday night by being run over by a train. The details of the accident are not known. A sad feature about the death was that Douglas had been given an honorable discharge and was soon to go to his home in Hartford, Conn. He was 25 years of age.
Interesting Talk. James Keefe, head secretary of the Knights of Columbus war camp activities at Camp Devens, gave a fine talk on the work of the order at a meeting of Ayer council on Tuesday evening. Mr. Keefe cited instances of how highly the work of the order is appreciated overseas by all the soldiers regardless of creed, as well as in the camps in this country. In the period since this country entered the war, said the speaker, the order has done wonderful work for the men in the service, a work the memory of which will live for all time in the minds of the soldiers.
Although the war is over there is a great deal of work yet to be done for the men in the service. It will be a long time before all the army is demobilized, a period when the soldiers will find time hanging heavily upon them in their monotonous life at the camps, both here and abroad. The continuation of the work is now as necessary as ever. This being true he urged Ayer council to do its share in furnishing recreation for the men in cooperation with the secretaries at Camp Devens. To this end he suggested that the local council keep its rooms open at all times for the benefit of all soldiers who wished to visit them. A secretary will be furnished by the Knights of Columbus camp activities service at the camp who will be on hand to greet visitors. Similar work will be done by the order throughout the country, in which there are 1800 councils. A conspicuous sign notifying visitors of the rooms was suggested.
Mr. Keefe also spoke of the need of a room registry by means of which soldiers’ relatives might secure quarters while visiting the camp without the confusion that has resulted from lack of such provisions in the past. In order to meet this requirement he asked the members of Ayer council to report the names of those having rooms to let to him, in order that quarters may readily be obtained for those desiring them. Joseph M. Markham, grand knight, introduced the speaker.
Federation House Notes. The Sunday evening service will have for its speaker Rev. W. S. Nichols, the assistant superintendent, and Lieut. Kammerer of Camp Devens will sing. The cooperation of civilians in this service is solicited. The hour is 7:30.
The Home Fires Burning. The friends of E. E. Williams, who makes daily deliveries of Boston papers of the largest circulation at Camp Devens, are having a good deal of fun at his expense in which Mr. Williams, being a “good sport,” also joins.
Mr. Williams, who personally carries a large “circulation,” some time ago purchased an up-to-date oil stove in order to keep his living quarters warm during the cool autumn days, as well as to increase the revenue of that “struggling” corporation, whose earnings created the richest man in the country, known as John D. Rockefeller, the head of the aforesaid corporation. The heater evidently did not belong to that class which comes under the law requiring thirty-six hours’ work per week, for sometimes it failed to “work” at all, and at other times worked only at about fifty percent efficiency. As the days became colder the owner of the stove desired to make his purchase 100 percent efficient, but the heater failed to respond to treatment.
On the day around which the story centers, he endeavored to get more heat. The burner, however, was on a strike and failed to contribute its part to meet the requirements, although the service was somewhat improved. The stove finally “worked” to such an extent as to cause its owner to fear that it might result in danger to the building in which his living quarters are located, the stove being very much “het up”
Mr. Williams, who evidently not only believes in safety first, but safety first, last and all the time, unlike the heater, was very cool. He seized the now unruly stove and hurled it through a window into a pond of water just outside the building, thereby preventing what might have been a fire.
Receiving a fake telephone message from one of his friends that the chief of the fire department wanted him to come at once to his headquarters to answer to a complaint for his action, he had a busy time trying to find the fire department’s chief official, but was unable to do so. Finally, he was informed by one of his humorously inclined friends that the alleged complaint was for endeavoring to set the brook afire.
Although the work law requiring at least thirty-six hours’ labor per week has been repealed, the new heating apparatus is now working much more than the minimum amount and is classed on the list of essential occupations. At last accounts the “home fires” were still burning and unless something happens will continue to do so “till the boys come home.”
Camp Carnival. The great three-days’ carnival at Camp Devens came to an end on Wednesday. The carnival opened on Monday with a rifle and platoons competition, in which the 36th regiment of infantry won, leading the other division infantry units by a good margin. Twenty thousand soldiers took part in the competition. A stinging cold wind during the morning kept down the attendance on the rifle range to a few hundred civilians. Those present were thrilled by the demonstration of the American trench mortars, hand bombs, one-pounder cannon automatic rifles and machine guns. The afternoon’s exercises drew out a large crowd. The program consisted of pontoon bridge work, competitive drills and a division sing with a band of 200 pieces. The guests included a prince of Siam, Rev. Endicott Peabody of Groton, Mr. Peabody bringing several crippled friends to witness the exhibitions.
The battalion competitions took place on Tuesday, the 74th battalion, under Major Donaldson, carrying off the honors.
The carnival closed Wednesday with regimental drill parades. Maj.-Gen. A. D. Parker, Newport, was an honored guest on the reviewing stand. Many thousand relatives of the boys in camp witnessed the exercises. Many secured rooms in Ayer and adjoining towns and remained throughout the three days during which the carnival lasted.
Center. The rifle range at Woodsville was in use again on Monday and the guards were back on the state road. It is understood, however, that this was a special occasion and that the range is not to be used every day.