A look back in time to a century ago
By Bob Oliphant
“Center. The class that graduated from Westford academy in June has various plans. Forrest
S. White goes to Chauncey Hall school preparatory for the Institute of Technology. Morton
Seavey, who took post graduate work at the academy goes to Boston university, Pamelia Precious
goes to Boston Conservatory of Music, Marion Woodbury goes to Lowell Commercial college,
Julia Donnelly to Salem Normal school and Edna Sargent to Amherst Agricultural college.
Webster Flagg has gone to South America, having a good position with an advertising company.
Yvonne Anctil plans to take up dressmaking and Fred Griffin, John Martin, Raymond Wall and
Conrad Cote are all at work.
“Mr. and Mrs. Perley E. Wright and son Harold spent the weekend with the W. R. Carver’s at
Peaks Island, Me., where the latter have been spending the summer….
“A group of seventeen from this village, going in their autos, spent the day at Canobie lake
Wednesday of last week and report a very enjoyable outing.
“Harry M. Grumb, who met with such a serious accident to one of his eyes and is at a Lowell
hospital, has had to have the injured eye removed. He has suffered much but since the operation
is more comfortable and expects to get home soon.
“Schools reopened Tuesday. At the Frost school there is a full quota of pupils. The total
enrollment is about 165. In the first grade, in charge of Miss Edith Wright, there are thirty new
“A Sad Sight. To those who appreciate the dignity and beauty of fine trees of many years’
growth it was a sorry surprise last Thursday morning when part of the great elm tree on the
northwest side of the common crashed down…. The branches fell across the telephone and
electric light wires and men from both companies came up from Lowell to attend to them….
Tree Warden Nesmith and men have been busy trimming the tree to make it look as symmetrical
as possible, also have been doing some work on other trees about the common. The big elm,
which was one of the finest in the village, has an interesting story. It was set out by Samuel
Fletcher, who lived in the house near at hand, which was burned in 1914. Mr. Fletcher set the
tree out for his daughter, Emily Augusta Fletcher, mother of Sherman H. and Emily F. Fletcher,
and was set in 1830, which makes its age 90 years. Mr. Fletcher also set out another elm for his
son Samuel, but this did not live. This son died when young. The young trees were brought from
the Westford depot district, the home of many fine elms. The double row of trees around the
common were set by John Abbot, Esq.
“About Town. Gilbert F. Wright and his sister, Miss Marion L. Wright, of Chelmsford,
called on us last Sunday, the latter being a schoolmate of the writer [Samuel L. Taylor] at the old
Stony Brook school sixty years ago. The reminiscences of those days were gone over with
pleasure, except the some weekly or oftener floggings….
“Birthday Anniversary. Matthew F. Downs, the oldest person in town, recently celebrated
his ninety-fifth birthday at his home on the Groton road at the old historic Brick tavern….
“Mr. Downs was born in Vasselboro, Me., served several years on the police force of Augusta
and came to Lowell, serving as corporation watchman for several years and for a number of years
was proprietor of the old Middlesex tavern at Middlesex village and from there he moved to
Westford, where he has been a resident for many years. As a man of temperate habits he holds
his youth and the Post gold-headed cane as one who knew and obeyed the rules essential to
“Graniteville. Joe Wall … has recently released the second flock of pheasants in covers in
this vicinity. The last flock was purchased and distributed through the Lowell Fish and Game
association, of which Mr. Wall is an active member.
“Base Ball Notes. The Abbot Worsted Co. team defeated the E. E. Taylor Co. club of
Nashua, N.H. at Abbot park … last Saturday by the score of 3 to 0….
“On Monday afternoon, Labor day, the Plymouth Rubber Co. team of Canton played a return
engagement here and defeated the Abbot Worsted Co. club in a finely played game by the score
of 4 to 1…. The Labor day game was the last to be played by the Abbot Worsted Co. club this
season, owing to the fact that the Abbot Worsted Soccer club will open the season at Forge
Village this week.”
The Brick Tavern, 266 Groton Road, May 1, 1884; celebration of the marriage of Henry
Hutchins Jr. and Florence Downs. Matthew Downs is the tall man in the doorway. Courtesy
Photo/The Blades Family.