Center. Mrs. Henry A. Fletcher and Mrs. Alfred W. Hartford went to Nashua the first of the week to visit Mrs. Jennie Fifield, who makes her home there, and finding her well and in good spirits.
Misses Grace Litchfield, Edith Forster, Mollie Raynes and Ina Macnutt have been guests of Mr. and Mrs. George W. Goode during the school vacations.
The William E. Frost school will reopen on Monday, as repairs to the heating plant are completed. It is hoped by that time the branch car will be in operation. After the hardest kind of work clearing the icy rails last week another severe ice storm undid all the work and in some places the rails are frozen in several inches of solid ice. The greatest help would be a genuine January thaw.
The Tadmuck club holds its annual guest night on Monday evening. Mrs. John P. Wright is hostess and the Mendelssohn quartet and a good reader will give the entertainment. Each member is entitled to one guest ticket, their own membership ticket serving for themselves. Guest tickets are not transferable. Members are reminded that the evening’s program will begin promptly at 7:30 in order to close by ten o’clock, in accordance with the new ruling of the state fuel administrator.
Miss May Day has completed knitting her thirty-second pair of stockings for the soldiers. Miss Day knits very smoothly and this is a good result accomplished. If one wanted to be facetious they might say that she was a thirty-second degree member in the knitting sisterhood for the army.
A daughter [Doris Gray Russell] was born to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Russell at the home of Mrs. Russell’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Bicknell, Monday [Jan. 14].
A real estate transfer of interest under way at the present time is the sale by Miss Ella F. Hildreth to William R. Carver of the large Hildreth barn on the west side of Hildreth street, and also a considerable amount of land belonging to the Hildreth estate.
The concert and ball planned for the members of Company L, M.S.G., with Poole’s orchestra as an attraction, have had to set aside their plans for the present, owing to [New England] Fuel Administrator Storrow’s ruling for ten o’clock closing of public halls. This was to have been one of the pleasant social events of a somewhat quiet season, and the committee in charge regret the change of plans, although willing to sacrifice for the cause.
The morning service at the Congregational church last Sunday was held in the vestry, as probably will be the case during continued cold weather.
One of the milkmen who makes daily trips to Westford from Lowell, collecting milk, lost a horse on Monday; one of a pair. The animal was noticed as not right coming up the Richardson hill. After getting up the hill, and about opposite H. V. Hildreth’s the animal fell. The driver got the horse up and unhitched him from the sled, but the creature fell again and died from hemorrhage. It was removed to Alec Fisher’s [3 Depot St.] and afterwards taken away by the rendering company.
Annual Meeting. The annual meeting of the Congregational church took place on Monday afternoon with good attendance. Preceding this meeting was the church members’ dinner at noon, served in the dining room, in charge of Mrs. H. G. Osgood and Mrs. A. E. Day, assisted by Mrs. G. A. Labouteley, Mrs. S. L. Taylor and others. The menu was abundant and appetizing, and was accompanied by an atmosphere of genuine good fellowship. At each plate were hand-made place cards with well chosen quotations. These were made by Miss S. W. Loker. At the close of the dinner came the roll call, with good responses from the forty-five present. Mr. Lincoln’s response embodied a report of what has been his first year of work with the church, a year of pleasant relations and good cooperation. All regular services have been sustained with special services for Children’s Sunday, Easter and Christmas. The church entertained the association meeting in April.
The business meeting was called to order at three o’clock by the clerk, and A. E. Day was chosen moderator. After prayer by the pastor the usual reports were read and accepted. These showed all bills paid and a balance in the treasury. The clerk reported eighty-two members. During the year two have been granted letters to the fellowship of other churches, two had been received by letter and two had died. Deacon Osgood reported various benevolences and the providing of flowers for the memory of those who have passed on. He, as well as others, voiced a plea in these troubled times of a thoughtful and christian stewardship of our means.
Arthur E. Day reported for the trustees. Repairs were made at the parsonage, including the installing of a new furnace. Mr. Osgood, in reporting for the Sunday school, with a membership of 130, which includes the home department, made appreciative mention of faithful work, especially in the primary department and in the men’s class.
Miss Edna Day reported for the Y.P.S.C.E. and Mrs. Bartlett, secretary of the Ladies’ Aid, gave a comprehensive report of the year’s work, $495.42 having been raised during the year. May E. Day, secretary of the Ladies’ Missionary society, reported ten meetings, the completion of the apportionment for the golden anniversary gift of the W.B.M., the raising of forty-three dollars for foreign work and two barrels of clothing sent one for the board of ministerial aide, and one to a colored school in Kentucky.
It was voted to renew any insurance policies that may expire during the year.
The following officers were elected for the coming year: L. W. Wheeler, clerk; Miss L. B. Atwood, treas.; John P. Wright, asst. treas.; H. G. Osgood, col.; Miss L. B. Atwood, Miss Mary P. Bunce, assistants; A. E. Day, L. W. Wheeler, Charles D. Colburn, H. G. Osgood, John P. Wright, trustees; Jas. W. Rafter, auditor; Miss L. B. Atwood, Miss S. W. Loker, A. E. Day, H. G. Osgood, L. W. Wheeler, supply com.; H. G. Osgood, Sunday school supt.; C. D. Colburn, asst. supt.; Anna E. Symmes, Sunday school sec. and treas.
Fire. One of the worst fires, representing the loss of the largest amount of property ever happening in Westford, took place Monday morning when the buildings at Nashobah farm [at approximately 98 Concord Rd.], owned by V. C. Bruce Wetmore, were totally destroyed. Mr. and Mrs. Wetmore were spending the winter in Boston, and Mr. Wetmore’s brother, Inglis Wetmore, who is in charge of the place was away for over Sunday and had not returned when the fire was discovered. Had either of these men been at home with the fire-fighting apparatus that was at hand, doubtless the fire could have been controlled.
When John Connell went the first time to see to the boiler fire things were apparently all right, but later, about seven o’clock, when going again to attend the boiler the fire was discovered and an alarm given. Mrs. Isles, at the telephone exchange, did some efficient work and rallied a good force of men from the Center and from Forge Village. Edward M. Abbot and Alonzo H. Sutherland, of the board of engineers of the Westford fire department, were among the first to arrive. By the time a force of men got to work the house was doomed, the electric motor for the windmill pump being already disabled by the fire, making a shortage of water. The men gave their efforts to saving furniture and also put in some strenuous work tearing out some of the long ell running between the house and barn in an effort to save the barn. This, however, proved useless, for a strong wind was blowing toward the barn and when the fire-fighters saw that it was impossible to save that, getting out the stock to places of safety was next in order. A valuable herd of about thirty head of cattle were saved as well as the horses.
Much regretted by the family was the loss of a valuable dog who was in the basement of the house, and a Persian cat. Much of the furniture in the lower part of the house and some of the rooms upstairs was saved, but all the furnishings of the service part of the house were lost.
Mr. Wetmore, of the electrical supply firm of Wetmore-Savage, of Boston, bought this place about five years ago and had remodeled it extensively, making it into a most attractive country home for himself and family. Not only is it a great loss to them, but so attractive and well kept-up place is a distinct loss to the town. The loss is estimated between $30,000 and $35,000, and is covered by insurance. It is a fact to be grateful for that the fire came in the daytime; had it happened in the night the valuable herd of cows and the horses might have perished. The poultry houses were not destroyed. A corn crib was cleverly saved by the firemen. Running a bid sled under it and fastening horses to it, and then cutting the supports under the crib, it was hauled out of range of the fire.
Interesting Old Homestead Gone. Nashobah farm, which is so much in the thought of the townspeople this week owing to the destructive fire on Monday, is one of the interesting old homesteads of the town. It was probably built in 1826, and was the Horatio Fletcher homestead. The main house was a well built, large, roomy structure, facing the southwest, and with substantial brick ends reaching to the third story, and incorporated into the four large chimneys. (These brick ends are still standing, a gaunt reminder of what was so pleasant a home.)
We quote the following from a historical sketch which gives the early history of this homestead: “William Fletcher, the son of Samuel, who was the son of Robert Fletcher, the immigrant, was born January 1, 1671, and married Mary (-----) December 11, 1701, and died in 1743 . He had a son Capt. Samuel, who was born in 1707 [1706?], and was married to Mary Lawrence of Littleton, September 17, 1729, and who died March 11, 1780. He was a man of large estate, for he bequeathed to each of his sons a farm, and he had nine sons and six daughters. One of these sons was Samuel, born in Westford, January 24, 1754. He was twice married, his second wife being Miriam Keyes, who survived her husband lived in the full possession of her faculties to be 102 years of age [d. Mar. 1, 1869]. Samuel was a deacon of the church and died August 25, 1838. He had ten children, one of whom was Horatio, born March 28, 1796, and was married to Nancy Edwards, of Acton, October 26, 1826.
“Horatio spent his early days on the farm which he received from his father and where he reared his homestead in which his children were born. The farm is now called Nashobah farm, because of the famous spring which is located there. When his youngest child was four weeks old Horatio Fletcher removed to Lowell, where he became a prominent business man in the lumber and coal business.”
So much for the early history of Nashobah farm. Louis Hildreth was the next owner, who later sold to Daniel Atwood and his father-in-law, Deacon Carleton, who came to Westford from Pelham. This was one of the longer ownerships and after Deacon Carleton died and Deacon Atwood built a home in the center of the town, his sons, William and Eliot, carried on the farm. They sold to a Mr. Cushing, whose ownership was a short one, about two years. He sold to Mr. Whittier and it was during his ownership that the Nashobah spring water enterprise was developed. Mr. Forster was the next owner and then came Mr. Wetmore, the present owner, who had done so much to make this old homestead one of the most attractive farms in this region.
This locality has been unfortunate with fires. Within a comparatively short distance on this Concord road are two other cellar holes where once stood prosperous farm homesteads, one the Capt. Jacob Smith place [at approximately 132 Concord Rd.] and the other owned by Frank C. Hildreth at the time it was burned and in its early days was the Davis homestead [at approximately 120 Concord Rd.].
French Relief Work. Several members of the Ladies’ Aid society of the Congregational church kindly attended the last meeting of the French Relief Workers at the library and a goodly amount of work was the result. At that meeting a report of the work for the last fifteen months was given by the leader, Miss Loker, who also briefly explained the work of the French relief. Early in 1915, soon after the invasion of French territory by the Germans, under the name of the American Fund for French Wounded, commenced work along the fighting line, establishing temporary hospitals for the wounded, providing automobiles for ambulance work, caring for helpless families and providing hospital supplies. More than 4000 of these temporary hospitals have been in use and about 3000 are being supplied to date,
The Westford branch has been in active service since October, 1916, and has sent a total of 12,169 articles, including more than 11,000 surgical dressings and 664 knitted articles.
About Town. Miss Ella Wright, of Cleveland, Ohio, a summer resident of Brookside, was a liberal contributor to the Brookside fund for the relief of the Halifax sufferers.
The Agricultural Bureau in Washington reports that there were more than 100,000 boys in the south who enrolled in agricultural clubs during 1917. In addition to this 20,000 boys were enrolled to assist in meeting certain emergencies incident to the war. A large number have been enrolled in wheat clubs for 1918, wheat, rye and oat clubs being organized wherever the growing of these crops is thought to be practicable. The average yield obtained by corn club boys in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia was 44.4 bushels of shelled corn to the acre. This was less than the average yield obtained for the last three years preceding because of the unfavorable weather conditions of the past season. It might be added by way of comparison that in Massachusetts the average yield per acre is thirty bushels of shelled corn.
A bill has been put into the Massachusetts legislature to provide three dog commissioners for every county, to be appointed by the county commissioners. They are to investigate all damages by dogs and dog disputes generally, and look after the whereabouts of dogs generally. With all this they will be busier than the secretary of war in a world-war time.
The first farmers’ institute of the season was held at Grange hall, Dracut Center, Thursday, with an address by Sinclair Kennedy on “How the farmers can help win the war.” In the afternoon an address was given by P. M. Harwood, chairman of the Massachusetts dairy commission, on “Dairying in Massachusetts under present conditions.”
A representative of the department of agriculture in Washington says that during a recent visit to New England it was noticed that numerous pastures that formerly supported flocks of sheep and lambs were now deserted and were becoming overgrown with weeds and bushes. A little inquiry produced the information that sheep-killing dogs were now so numerous that no flock of sheep was safe from their attacks unless surrounded by a dog-proof bulwark. If the farmers of New England could be assured that their sheep would be allowed to feed unmolested numerous flocks would be purchased. Some local legislation will have to recognize the fact that a vagrant dog is a menace to the progress of the community and provide a penalty for those who insist in keeping a dog without keeping them under proper restraint. Dogs should not be allowed to wander away from their owner’s premises or leave their owner’s control, as otherwise they will become a public nuisance.
Abiel J. Abbot will give a descriptive talk on his tour to the South Sea Island in the vestry of the Unitarian church this Saturday evening. Besides this talk, which like others are always freshly entertaining, Miss Whitehead, of Lowell, in costume, will entertain in folk-lore song. She is favorably known in the Unitarian parish. Mr. Abbot is deeply interested in the welfare of the Unitarian church, the church of his fathers. He has several times given most interesting talks of the travels which he and his wife have been permitted to take together.
Those who attended the West Chelmsford M.E. church [1904-1905] during the summer vacation in the home churches will remember the brilliant preaching of Francis J. McConnell, then a student at Boston university. It was easily seen that he was destined to make his mark. The years have proved this to be so, for he has become a bishop in the M.E. church and has attained distinction of national reputation. Recently he was one of the six prominent Methodists chosen by the National Y.M.C.A. to go over to England and France, and make known how this country feels about this war and bring back a return message to our country from England and France. His oldest son, although only nineteen, has enlisted and is now serving in the flying squadron in France.
Miss Elizabeth Kimball, the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Kimball, is to be congratulated upon her new position. She was offered a fine place in the primary school in Norwood, not far from Boston, which she accepted the first of this year. She formerly taught in Springfield, Vt. A number of the teachers in Norwood have a house together and are most pleasantly situated. We are glad to hear of the promotion of one of our academy girls, who proved herself such a good student here. Jennie, another daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Kimball, has again shown her marked proficiency in typewriting. She is a student at the business college in Lynn. At a previous test she took the highest rank. Again she stood highest in the test for speed and accuracy and received a five-dollar gold medal from the school because of her proficiency.
On the evening of January 4 the Dakota Playmakers at the University of North Dakota held their annual Twelfth Night revels. It’s an old English custom of celebrating on the twelfth night after Christmas. These Dakota Playmakers revived the custom of Merrie England by song, dance, revels, stunts and refreshments. Of course they had a king and queen and knave. Prof. John A. Taylor was elected to play the role of knave. He composed an original humorous poem for the occasion which pleased all the merry-makers.
It is with great interest that lovers of Mt. Holyoke college have read that less than 1000 students contributed over $14,000 for the Red Triangle, and that on top of repeated previous contributions for other things—and that money meant real sacrifice for many.
The electric light folks are setting poles on the Lowell road and find that the frost varies from one to four feet.
Edgar F. Dutton, son of the late Dr. and Mrs. Samuel L. Dutton, of Chelmsford, and nephew of Dr. Charles Dutton, for many years teacher at the old Stony Brook school, died of pneumonia at the hospital in Schenectady, N.Y., recently, aged fifty-one years.
A Centenarian. Mrs. Sarah R. Hildreth will celebrate her 100th birthday on Monday, January 21. She was born at Tenney’s Corner, in the house well-known as the John F. Banister place, at the intersection of the Dunstable-Tyngsboro and Tenney roads. This house was built by her folks and is 104 years old. Mrs. Hildreth is the last of six children of Samuel and Rebecca (Clark) Tenney. Her father was a native of Littleton, and her mother a native of Concord. She was educated at the then old District No. 4 school, located on the Tenney road. Her early home commanded a view of the famous Long Sought-for pond, Spalding and Scribner hill[s] and Spalding brook, the outlet of Long Sought-for pond with its trout attractions and eddys and pebbly curves flowed close to her home.
On January 3, 1841, she was married to James Hildreth, a schoolmate of her youth in the palmy days of the old district system. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Leonard Luce, and her home for fifty years was at the old Hildreth residence on the north shore of Long Sought-for pond, beautiful beyond word description for situation. Seven children were born to them: Mrs. Sarah R. Clark, Henry J., Samuel T., Martha A., Myra, Mrs. Emma Chandler and Frank H. Hildreth.
In her younger days she recalls the old-time dances in which she was a conspicuous participant at the town hall, under the Unitarian church, and a hall near home at the brick tavern, which was one of the wholesome resorts in those old fashioned days. With much pleasure she recalled to the writer her pleasant memory of George T. Day, when he taught District No. 8 school. The freshness of youth, health and intellectual efficiency are the memories impressed of those teaching days.
Some of the older residents of the town recall the Hildreths and the Tenneys as frequent attendants at the Old First Parish Unitarian church in the days when Rev. Thomas Whittemore, of Boston, and others, frequently occupied the pulpit at different times.
Mrs. Hildreth still retains an inquiring interest in the First Parish and in the Unitarian denomination generally. She can see without glasses, hear without an ear trumpet, and if occasion required could dance down and out many of the younger set. She still retains the early New England old-fashioned, large, strong, vigorous physical frame work and digestive powers. Brought up on the old-fashioned New England home-grown diet vegetables and animals, she feels that she is rather an old scholar to learn the ways of meatless, wheatless days.
The old lady is still in the possession of her early wisdom teeth, with accrued interest. A passing hand-shake for “Auld Lang Syne” sake will be acceptable on her century birthday.
Forge Village. Much sympathy is expressed for Mr. and Mrs. V. C. Bruce Wetmore in the loss by fire of their beautiful home, Nashobah farm, Monday morning. Mrs. Wetmore has been singularly unfortunate in this respect, as she was staying at the Hotel Lenox, Boston, when fire broke out there several months ago. Mrs. Wetmore was asleep in her apartment at the time and narrowly escaped injury. Her son, Robert Wetmore, who attends Dummer academy in New Hampshire, only recently lost all his belongings when fire broke out in the school a few weeks ago. He was asleep at the time and had to be aroused.
Rev. Angus Dun was unable to reach St. Andrew’s mission last Sunday in time for services, as his machine became stalled in a rut while driving from Ayer. It was nearly an hour before he could overcome the difficulty. When he arrived here the congregation had dispersed.
Mrs. Fred A. Sweatt is recovering from a severe attack of illness.
Mrs. Margaret Wilson has been under the care of a physician for the past two weeks.
Miss Carolyn Putnam Webber, of Lowell has been secured by the Abbot Worsted Company to give a series of ten lecture in Abbot hall on the conservation of food. Everyone interested is requested to be present, as Miss Webber will demonstrate economical cooking. There will be no charge for admission. Those who are interested will do well to take a lead pencil and note paper as there will be recipes that will be worth having.
William Cushing, U.S.N., spent the weekend at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Omer Cushing.
Miss Priscilla Bennett has returned from her visit of several days with her sister, Mrs. August Meyer, of Walpole.
Death. Napoleon Cantara, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Cantara, Bradford street, died at his home on last week Friday afternoon at five o’clock after a short illness of two weeks with a severe cold, which developed into pneumonia. He was twenty years of age. Besides his parents he leaves three brothers, Joseph, Celdia and Ramea; also, two sisters, Mrs. Joseph Leclerc and Miss Coranna Cantara. His death after so short an illness comes as a great shock to his family and a wide circle of friends. He was a member of St. Catherine’s church; also, of Court Graniteville, F. of A. The funeral took place at his home on Monday morning at 8:30 o’clock. At nine o’clock a funeral mass was sung at St. Catherine’s church, Graniteville, Rev. Henry L. Scott officiating. The regular choir was in attendance, with Miss Rebecca Leclerc sustaining the solos. The bearers were his three brothers and his brother-in-law, Emile Milot, and Gaston Provost. Interment was in St. Catherine’s cemetery.
Interesting Letters. Some very interesting letters have been received here from Rev. and Mrs. Williston M. Ford, former vicar of St. Andrew’s parish, who left for Colorado last fall. Their many friends, both here and in Ayer, will be pleased to hear news from them.
Montrose, where they are located, is in Western Colorado, and has a population of between 3000 and 4000 people. Mr. Ford is the vicar of St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Montrose and also has charge of a mission in Olathe, a small village about eleven miles north of Montrose, which has some 450 inhabitants. Since going there Mr. Ford has raised funds to build a choir room onto the church, and Mrs. Ford made all of the vestments for the choir, who wore them for the first time on Christmas day. Mr. Ford has also been presented with a fine saddle horse by the bishop, which enables him to journey to the mission. The letter received by Miss Grace Lawrence, from Mrs. Ford, reads:
I expect Mrs. Denham has told you of my journey. Such a lot of visiting and traveling as I have done at Ayer, Forge Village, Lunenburg, Fitchburg, Buffalo, Chicago, St. Paul, North Dakota and finally here. Our tiny little house is just back of the church, where there is a very nice lawn. We have a large garden plot and some fine, large potatoes have been dug since we came. I went with Mr. Ford to Olathe, which is our “Forge Village,” last Sunday for evening service and was there until Tuesday noon. Today, at four o’clock, it was 76° in the shade, and at eight o’clock in the morning it was 36°. It is really very cold through the nights and we need plenty of blankets. Too bad to talk over these very ordinary matters when I might be telling of the wonderful scenery.
I reached Colorado two weeks ago and it was a beautiful day. I went by auto to the Garden of Gods which was truly wonderful. Such a fine view of Pike’s Peak. Next morning we took a train for Salida through the Royal Gorge, which is marvelous. As our train was delayed by a wreck ahead of us we missed some of it, as it was quite dark when we reached Salida, where we spent the night.
Starting very early the next morning we went through the Marshall Pass to our new home in Montrose. Some wonderful mountain views as we had to stand up in the rear door of the train to really see them as they were so high above us and then we slowly climbed up 8000 feet. As we looked back the railroad made the letter S. We had supper in the house with only one cup, one saucer, our electric toaster and teaspoons to eat with, but the meal was enjoyed just the same. We miss all our Forge Village friends very much.
Christmas morning was very warm and sunny. I went to church without a coat. Today has been so warm that Mr. Ford and I worked out in the garden for two hours without coats on. We have not had a flurry of snow yet and it has only rained once since we came. Constant sunshine every day with the most beautiful sunsets. I wish you were all here to enjoy it. Santa Claus was very good to us. I wish I could share some of the good things with you. We have over sixty quarts of jams, jellies, preserves and pickles given to us and a great deal of candy. We had a fine letter from Mrs. Burnett this week.
Graniteville. At the first mass of St. Catherine's church last Sunday morning the members of the Holy Name society received holy communion in a body, and after the second mass the regular meeting of the Women’s Society was held. At this meeting, which was largely attended, the members were addressed by the spiritual director, Rev. C. P. Heaney, after which the following officers were elected: Miss Catherine Conley, per.; Miss Hattie O’Brien, asst. per.; Miss Catherine Hanley, treas.
The regular meeting of the Red Cross was held on Wednesday afternoon and a great amount of work was turned out by the members. The members were also instructed in the making of a new kind of bandage at this time.
A daughter [Rose Florence Richards] was born to Mr. and Mrs. Rudolf [or Rudolph] Richards last Saturday [Jan. 12, 1918].
The car service on the Lowell and Fitchburg railway was somewhat delayed on Sunday morning, owing to the icy condition of the tracks. In some places along the line the ice had formed a couple of inches thick from the time the last car was taken off at night until the first car over in the morning.
A very pleasant party assembled at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Palmer on last week Friday afternoon, the occasion being the celebration of the fifth birthday anniversary of their little daughter Elizabeth. Many of little Elizabeth’s friends had gathered at this time and the time was pleasantly spent in playing games and other amusements so dear to the heart of childhood. Dainty refreshments were served and it is needless to say that this part of the program was thoroughly enjoyed. Elizabeth was the recipient of many pretty gifts from her little friends. The party was surely a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
We are surely having all sorts of weather here this season for on Tuesday we had snow, rain, hail and sunshine—all in one day.
Camp Notes. Two officers of the medical reserve corps will be assigned to visit the cities and towns in Maine and Vermont next week to instruct and inspect local examining boards as to the method of examining candidates for the national army.
Private John F. Simpson, of Company B, 301st Supply Train, was seriously injured by the accidental discharge of a pistol while downing the weapon before going on guard recently. The bullet entered the arm, going through that member into his chest. He is confined to the base hospital. Simpson’s home is in Bridgeport, Conn.
All corners of the United States are represented in the men at camp. It is said that one regiment has representatives from every state.
There have been a few accidents to the men in the training and “breaking” of green horses and mules. Private James M. Allardice, of Battery E, 302nd Field Artillery, whose home is in New Bedford, while leading three horses to new quarters, the animals were scared by a passing automobile and jumped, throwing their leader. As Allardice fell one of the horses kicked him in the neck. He was taken to the base hospital. Private Daniel J. Sullivan, a member of Company A, 301st Engineers’ regiment, had his nose broken and his face injured when a mule kicked him in the face. Minor accidents have occurred from the same cause. Sullivan’s home is in Newport, R.I.
Private Claud Buffum, of East Wallingford, Vt., died of pneumonia at the base hospital last Sunday.
The artillery fire which was to start Monday was postponed for a month until difficulty with a high voltage power line which runs over the artillery range can be adjusted. It is estimated by civilian engineers that an expenditure of $50,000 will be necessary if the lines were changed, and it was then decided to change the range.
On Monday twenty-eight men of the Depot Brigade left to join the Water Supply Company, 27th Engineers, at Camp Dix, Wrightstown, N.J.
Former President William H. Taft is scheduled to speak at the camp on January 24.
Ten more candidates were selected on Monday for the officers’ training school and were ordered to report to Col. N. M. Falls for instruction.
Statements evidently arising from an anti-German propagandist this week that several men were in the hospital as a result of going through the gas house are branded as false. Of the several hundred men who have been gassed only one had suffered any bad effects from the gas and he required only slight treatment, which was apparently due to an improper adjustment of his mask.
The 33rd Regular Engineers are now organizing and will be glad to receive recruits. The regiment is to do general construction work and wants skilled labor in that line. Men of draft age are said to be eligible, if qualified, and men above thirty-one will not be refused if passed by the physicians.
Trench work still goes on. The heavy frost makes digging a slow and very laborious task. The men work in relays and while they are not doing the rough work they gather in groups under the trees to received instructions from their officers. The trenches are so extensive that one might easily lose his way in them, though some of them are marked with sign posts.
A British sergeant, who has spent several years in foreign military camps, is quoted as making the following statement after a visit to Camp Devens: “It is simply astounding to see all the comforts your men have. It is just like stepping from one home into another to be a soldier at that camp. There is nothing like it on the other side—the men don’t expect it. And the men are the finest looking set I ever saw. They are soldiers every inch.”
The New England soldier dances too much, is the opinion of officers expressed on Tuesday. At a conference of officers it was decided to take steps to cut down the social functions which are almost nightly occurrences. It was the judgment of those present that the mind of the soldier was distracted by too many gaieties. The imprecision was confirmed, it is said, by the comment of a British officer, who recently inspected the cantonment. This officer is quoted as saying, “There is too much women about the camp.”
Several thousand visitors came to the camp last Sunday in spite of the very cold weather, taxing the limited train and electric line service to the crowding point.
While the old saying is true, that you should never cross a bridge until you come to it, it appears that Ayer will have an even greater automobile traffic to handle during the coming spring and summer than it did last summer, when the number of visitors reached into the hundreds of thousands, unless there is a change in the present transportation facilities. With the curtailment of the train service which cared for many thousands in the past summer, together with the fact that the next draft soon to come will add many more thousands to the large number already here, it looks now as if the police force will have plenty to do in handling the volume of traffic which will come to the camp.
An interesting private in Company A of the 303rd Machine Gun Battalion is Rev. Joseph Barnet, who was formerly an assistant pastor in St. George’s church in New York city. Mr. Barnet did not claim exemption which he was privileged to do, as clergymen are not obligated to do military duty, because he desired to live among the men and see the war from the soldier’s standpoint. He takes his turn behind a machine gun, hikes into the country with the mule train and performs regular sentry duties.
The failure of many men to visit the recreation centers outside the camp has given rise to the impression that perhaps such activities, although established with a fine spirit, are somewhat overdone. When the men get leaves of absence from their duties they generally come to town or go on visits to other places. They usually get back to camp just in season to go in without making any stop at the places provided for them outside the cantonment.
Clayton Nichols , of Norwalk, Conn., a private in the 108th Company, Depot brigade, died of spinal meningitis at the base hospital on Monday night.
Private Charles E. Metcalf, of the 6th Battalion, Depot Brigade, a former navy yard employee, was ordered discharged by the war department on Tuesday to enable him to resume his former duties at the Charlestown navy yard. This is the first discharge for such a case.
A dividend of $200 to each of the thirty-four companies in the Depot Brigade was declared by the brigade post exchange on Tuesday. This sum was realized from the patronage of the enlisted men at the canteen.
Bowling. At the soldiers’ clubhouse on West street, Monday night, a team representing Ayer and a team from the camp bowled three strings that resulted in an easy win for the local boys. Fitzgerald was high man for the local team with a total of 294, while Sylvester, of the camp team, was high man for his team with a total of 259. The score in detail is given below:
Blodgett 66 96 80 -- 242
Fitzgerald 105 89 100 -- 294
Goodall 92 83 79 -- 254
Turney 94 90 92 -- 276
Pillman 80 87 87 -- 254
437 445 438 -- 1320
Melagutes 75 72 92 -- 239
Dodge 75 73 74 -- 222
Stanton 86 88 65 -- 239
Sylvester 85 73 77 -- 259 [sic]
Murphy 103 73 77 -- 253
424 396 392 1212
News Items. A party of eighteen young people, by invitation of Daniel Healy, attended a barrack dance at Camp Devens on Saturday night, where they enjoyed several dances. Music was furnished by the regimental band and during the evening palatable refreshments were served. At an early hour the company tucked securely in the sled, started for home and were passing through Main street, Ayer, when the unexpected, but usual happened. The sled was upset and the occupants rolled out, but no serious injury resulted. All were again seated shortly and happily speeding homeward. City papers, the next morning, gave space to a much exaggerated account of the accident, even attempting the names of some in the party, but all proceeded and were left safe in their own homes long before midnight.
News Items. The great many transfers of property in town since the establishment of Camp Devens will greatly increase the work of the assessors for the present year. It is expected that the additional work will require six weeks more time than last year at least. The number of new buildings of any size erected during the past summer and fall is relatively small and will be productive of little additional revenue from taxation.
A pung coming from Littleton, filled with people of both sexes, returning from a dance at Camp Devens, was overturned late last Saturday night on Main street, in front of Kittredge’s restaurant, when the runners of the pung got caught in the electric car track. All had a remarkable escape from injury of any kind. The party resumed their trip to their home after a few minutes’ delay.