October 2019 Musings

Time to Renew Your Membership!

Our LogoIt’s time to renew your membership to the Westford Historical Society!  You may renew online with a credit card or pay by check. If paying by check, please follow the instructions on the website to mail in your payment.

Think about a Time Travelers Membership!
For WHS Memberships of Bronze level ($100) or higher, you receive the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Membership. Members from a NARM institutions who present a validated membership card are entitled to the following privileges at participating museums: Free member admission during regular museum hours, member discounts at museum shops, and discounts on concert/lecture tickets.

Click here for a printable version of the list. This is a great benefit if you travel or love to visit museums!

Scavenger Hunt ~
Become a Westford Town Historian

Congratulations to our new Town Historians, Abigail and Grant, recently sworn in by museum docents Lisa Sama and John Forcucci.

How do you become a certified Westford Town Historian? Visit the museum Sunday 2-4PM and ask for the scavenger hunt. After you have successfully completed your hunt, you will receive a “Certificate of History” and be sworn in by our docents as a “Westford Historian”!

 

“Older Than Me” Pop Up Museum at the Annual Meeting

Wednesday, October 23 at 7:00 pm at the Westford Museum
The Westford Museum will be hosting a “Pop-up Museum” in conjunction with its annual meeting.

“The idea of a pop-up museum is that it can happen anywhere, anytime, and with any theme,” said Penny Lacroix, the event organizer. “Our theme for this event is ‘Older Than Me.’ So if you’re 60, bring something from before 1959. But if you’re 10, anything from before 2009 is fair game!” For this event, planners are suggesting that the items also be related to Westford.

There will be no fee for participation, but registration is recommended. Let us know about your “Older than Me” family treasures or personal keepsake. Register your item here. Participants should be ready to tell the story of their item and why it’s interesting. All items will remain the property of the participant.

The event will be held at the Westford Museum and will be open to people of all ages. Doors will open at 6:30 for set-up.

Two Truths, One Lie, Three Pours

Saturday, October 26 at 7:00 pm at the Westford Museum
Our storyteller, Rick Taylor, has three stories of Westford to tell you. Two are true. One is not. You choose which is which, while sampling some of Aaronap Cellars finest wines. Join us for Two Truths, One Lie, Three Pours

Tickets: $40 non-members/$25 WHS members
(purchase tickets using the links below)

Ticket~Two Truths, One Lie, Three Pours (NON-Member)
Ticket~Two Truths, One Lie, Three Pours (WHS Members)
Or
Mail a check to: Westford Historical Society
P.O.Box 411, Westford, MA 01886

Not a member? Join now!

Events Recaps!

225th Anniversary of Westford Academy
We celebrated the 225th Anniversary of Westford Academy with a progressive tour of all four of the buildings that served as WA. As each new school building marked the expansion of Westford Academy’s population, mission, and scope, and the educational ideal and the town’s population expanded, so did the Academy.

 

The event was sponsored by Westford Academy Trustees in collaboration with Geoff Hall, WA Principal Jim Antonelli, and WA Band Director, Mark Soo.

A special thanks to Jim VanBever for his research of the Paul Revere Bell (You can read more about the Bell below!) and 3rd generation of Westford Academy (Abbot School).

 

 

What do you MEME ~ Westford Edition

We had a great time at Clark’s Pub for the Westford Edition of “What do you MEME?” Thanks goes to Master of Ceremony Dan Lacroix, and our distinguished Judges: Kelly Ross, Kent Vuilleumier and Cate Lacroix. Congratulations to the winner of the Westford edition of “What do you meme?”, Jeff Sutton! Best quote and picture matching of evening: Boy and his pig “Hoping for Harley instead of a hog!”

Westford Notable of the Month~ June Kennedy

Geoff Hall, whose show Westford Tales focuses on residents’ memories of Westford throughout the years, conducted his first interview with local author and town historian, June Kennedy. June spoke about her nearly 60 years in Westford. Click here to watch the interview

 

 

 

 

Docent Academy
The Paul Revere Bell
By Jim VanBever

One of Westford Academy’s most important links to the Revolutionary War period is a 127 lb. bronze bell which was cast in the foundry of Paul Revere & Son. Saved from oblivion years ago, the bell now resides at the fourth Westford Academy located at Patten Road.
However, the bell is not Paul Revere’s first bell to reside at Westford Academy. In fact, it is a re-cast of the original bell that weighed 120 lbs. and was purchased from Revere in 1793, which was a year before students entered the original Academy located at the head of Westford Common.
When the original bell cracked, probably by robust ringing for special events it had to be re-cast in 1809. The original bell was sold back to the Revere Company at 25 cents per pound and was re-melted into the current bell which weighs 127 lbs. The cost of the new bell was $63.50, minus the allowance of $27.50. Westford resident Josiah Boynton was in charge of transporting it from Revere’s Medfield foundry.
Paul Revere was very familiar with Westford since his son John, the last of Revere’s 16 children, entered the Academy in 1799 and studied under John Abbot. There is a legend that the Revolutionary War hero donated the bell in lieu of tuition for his son John. But this is apparently a myth since records of John Revere’s tuition payment exist. Yet, there is strong evidence that Paul Revere did visit Westford when his son was a student at Westford Academy and since it was a day’s journey to travel to Westford, it’s quite possible that Revere spent the night here.
The re-cast bell remained at the original Westford Academy until the building was moved to the 2 Boston Road location, the current site of the Westford Museum. At that time, the bell stayed silent at the site of the original Academy in its original cupola.
The bell was then placed in the formal garden of the John C. “Jack” Abbot estate and turned upside to form a vessel like giant flower pot which blossomed for many seasons. If Mr. Abbot had realized the historical significance of the bell, he probably would not have allowed it to be used in such a fashion.
After Mr. Abbot’s death in 1934, his only remaining son Robert removed the bell to his home in Littleton. The bell remained at Robert Abbot’s residence until long time Westford resident Allister MacDougal noticed it and purchased the historic bell in 1940. MacDougal kept it in his barn until the third Westford Academy opened (now the Abbot School) in 1955, at which time the bell was returned to Westford Academy as a gift from Mr. MacDougal. The bell was then moved again when Westford Academy moved to its present location on Patten Road where it still resides today.

Note: Information taken from an article written by Westford resident Gordon B. Seavey

More Upcoming Museum Programs

October 23: Annual Meeting – Pop up Museum Older Than Me
October 26: Two Truths, One Lie, Three Pours
October 31: Preschooler Trick or Treating
November 13: “A Short History of Westford” talk by Geoff Hall and Rich McLaughlin 7-9 PM
November 17: David Brody Book Signing and Discussion Treasure Templari: Templars, Nazis and the Holy Grail (Templars in America Book 9) $15.95
December 1: Town Common Tree Lighting, WHS Store Open  4-7pm
December 6-27: Family Funfest Festival of Trees. Our tree theme: 225 years of high school
December 7: Westford Academy Holiday Bazaar