A Century Ago in Westford
The Westford Wardsman was published weekly as part of Turner's Public Spirit, an Ayer-based newspaper. In the 21st century, Bob Oliphant, a longtime Westford Historical Society supporter, transcribed the complete articles from digital copies. His abridged versions of the Wardsman are published weekly in the Westford Eagle.
This page is continually being updated, so check back soon for more recent articles.
Fire escapes added on side of Frost School. Group from the Academy goes to Lowell to see a movie of “Les Miserables.” Liberty Loan Drive raises over $180,000, more than doubling the town’s quota, from nearly 300 subscribers. New Graniteville baseball team holds whist party & dance. Occupants narrowly escape serious injury when their car collides with trolley in Forge Village.
Patriotic mass meeting held at First Parish Church. Six inches of snow keeps many away from Academy’s speaking contest. Measles epidemic closes Sargent School for a week. Red Cross volunteer in Forge Village receives postcard from soldier in France thanking her “for knitting these nice warm socks.”
Abbot Worsted Co. advertises for workers, specifically “girls.” Maple trees are tapped to supplement sugar supply. A reception, military tableau, concert & ball entertain hundreds at affair hosted by local home guard in Town Hall. Large water main bursts in Forge Village. Fields prepared for war gardens. Methodist parsonage is being renovated.
Beautiful weather for Easter Sunday. Mouse eats flowers off a new spring hat. Congregational & Unitarian churches host “union social” featuring music & readings, cocoa & cake. Seven more drafted men get send-off to Camp Devens. Electric lights installed in Red Cross rooms in Graniteville to allow “good work for the soldiers” to continue past sunset. “Everyone” responds to inception of Daylight Savings Time “as if nothing had happened.”
Readers are reminded to set clocks ahead one hour to comply with the country’s first Daylight Savings Time law. New, heavier rails laid to accommodate new, heavier engine to haul stone from Fletcher quarry to Brookside. Grange hears talk about the duty of “the farmers in the trenches” to produce more food during present war conditions. A wild quail becomes part of a flock of Forge Village chickens.
Nashobah Camp Fire Girls hold first ceremonial meeting. Forge Village correspondent reports that an “old-time blizzard” makes traveling difficult, adding “We are certainly having some winter.” Part of the C. G. Sargent Sons’ Graniteville machine shop runs all night.
The Brownies & younger Girl Scouts in Forge Village choose the morning glory as their troop flower & show interest in learning first aid work. In a letter to his mother from France, Westford soldier reports “We had a nice trip across; the sea was just like old Forge pond.” Westford native, a naval instructor, fatally burned in seaplane accident at Cape May, NJ.
New fuel supply allows library to resume its 3-day-a-week schedule & ensures regular sessions at the Academy. Congregational & Unitarian Churches continue their series of union services. A ceremony at Town Hall sends off six men, the last of Westford’s first draft quota, to Camp Devens. Large audience learns about substitutes for meat at a lecture on food conservation in Forge Village.
77-year-old Graniteville woman knits her 52nd pair of stockings for Red Cross. Second in series of children’s dancing parties held at Town Hall. Tadmuck Club hears reading of “Lady Windermere’s Fan.” Enthusiastic “Brownie Scouts” hold meeting in Forge Village.
More snow & extreme cold closes Frost School for a day & cancels a Tadmuck Club meeting. Lowell Rd. gets electric street lights. Women throughout town continue making dressings, pajamas & other articles for Red Cross. Many out-of-towners, including soldiers from Camp Devens, attend dance in Forge Village.