A look back in time to a century ago

By Bob Oliphant

Center.  A good number went from Westford to Camp Devens on Tuesday to see the review of the famous Yankee Division of soldiers.  They report the immense crowds and the review a sight never to be forgotten.   Between twenty-five and thirty students from Westford academy and their teachers were among those who went.

“The Board of Trade held its quarterly meeting at the town hall on Wednesday evening which was open to the public.  About seventy-five availed themselves of the invitation to hear Simon B. Harris give his personal reminiscences of Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody)….

“The academy baseball team have played two games this week at Whitney playground—Monday, with the Littleton team, and Wednesday with the team from Ayer high school.  The visiting teams carried off the laurels at both games.

Fatal Accident.  The sad and fatal accident in which J. Henry Colburn [brother of Charles D. Colburn who died Oct. 4, 1918, of influenza] lost his life on Tuesday evening has shocked and saddened the entire community.  The accident happened when members of Company L, M. S. G., who had been drilling at Whitney playground, were returning to the town hall, which constitutes the armory.  When about opposite George P. White’s [62 Main St.], Walter Fletcher, son of J. Willard Fletcher, of Westford depot, came down the street at a rapid pace with his two-ton grain truck.  The members of the company scattered to one side, but Mr. Colburn was struck and stunned into unconsciousness.  The men did everything possible for their injured comrade, getting Dr. Blaney and the public health nurse, Miss Weir, to the scene as quickly as possible, and on a quickly improvised stretcher moving him to the town hall.  Dr. Blaney gave first aid and ordered his removal to the Lowell General hospital.  He was started for Lowell in Julian Cameron’s car, but the end came soon after starting….

“The funeral services with military honors, was held on Friday afternoon at two o’clock from the home of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Norah S. Colburn.

Easter Services.  Beautiful weather added to the Easter Sunday programs….

About Town.  George C. Moore, the proprietor of Brookside mill, … has taken upon his public spiritedness to lengthen the highway bridge at his farm on Nabnassett road, this brook being the outlet of Nabnassett pond.  The bridge was built in the days of ye horse power motor … and the wonder of road slewing, skidding accidents in this age of automobiles is that no accident ever occurred there.

“There is a new variety of apple on the Capt. Peletiah Fletcher farm on the Lowell road.  This variety, which resembles the Baldwin, will keep 365 ½ days and would keep more days if there were more.  Apple experts at Amherst college have been unable to name it, nor our apple expert, G. E. Lebouty, recently of the Read-Drew farm.  The tree was thrown in as an inducement offer with an order for lawn shrubbery.  The writer has grafted from the stock this year.

“The Old Oaken Bucket farm has finished planting two acres of potatoes.  This sounds big for a town that now raises its potatoes in Aroostook [County, Maine], but compared with the days of 1860, when some farmers raised a thousand bushels, two acres looks like pig [sic] potatoes.

“Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Lewis, Jamaica Plain, Tuesday [April 22, 1919], aged 89 years 9 months, 16 days.  He will be remembered with a full measure of love and reverence by all who were fortunate to know him when he was minister of the First Parish church [1903-1911] in our ancient Westford….

Forge Village.  The instruments for the brass band to be formed here were purchased this week.  Edward T. Hanley, Arthur M. Whitley and James Larkin, the latter to be bandmaster, selected the instruments.

“The movies will be shown this week for the last time this season.  The minstrel show, to be held next week, will be the last affair to be held in the hall in its present condition, as work will commence on it shortly to enlarge it and make it up to date.

Ayer

Review of the 26th Division.  The final review and inspection of New England’s Yankee Division took place at Camp Devens on Tuesday afternoon.  Six states sent their governors to pay homage to the 26th Division, which, while of the United States of America, is first and last New England’s own….  Army officers estimated that there were 200,000 present, but scarcely a tenth of them could see the passing in review or the placing of decorations with any degree of satisfaction.  Within the cantonment gates were fully 30,000 automobiles….”