Category Archives: Commerce

New Exhibit: “Historical relics”

Beginning in 1912, the U.S. Treasury decided to get rid of all of the Confederate currency that had been hanging around for 50 years or so. They didn’t just shred it: they sent sample sets to libraries, museums and other collecting institutions.

Confederate $20 bill, 1863
Confederate $20 bill, 1863

As Franklin MacVeagh, Secretary of the Treasury (and creator of the buffalo nickel) wrote to “Librarian” at the Frederic C. Adams Public Library on February 8, 1913,

“As your Library will no doubt be interested in receiving specimens of notes issued by the Confederate States of America, for exhibition purposes, I take pleasure in sending you an assortment of the same.

“These notes came into the possession of the Union Army about the close of the Civil War, and were turned over by the War Department to the Treasury of the United States in the year 1867.

“The Treasury Department has no complete series of the notes, and in presenting such specimens as are now in its custody the Department feels assured that proper disposition will be made for their safe-keeping so as to render them of permanent value to your Library as historical relics.”

Added to the historical collection by Kingston’s first public librarian Jennie McLauthlen and kept safe by her successors in the Local History Room, they are now on exhibit as items of permanent value for your viewing pleasure.

Confederate $20 bill, 1863
Confederate $20 bill, 1863

For what it’s worth

In 1924, the Kingston Highway Department did a good deal of work on the roads — particularly West Street, Pembroke Street, and Maple Street — and a new “highway beacon” was installed.

While discussions of municipal spending on roadways dates back to the earliest town meetings, automobile traffic — that “modern method of travel” — was a new and rapidly growing concern.  Highway Surveyor Warren S. Nickerson did his best to balance repairs, new construction and snow removal within his budget.  He pointed out in his annual report that costs were held down by judicious purchase and careful maintenance of equipment.

Some of those parts came from the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company.

Buffalo-Springfield Company bill to Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Buffalo-Springfield Company bill to Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Buffalo-Springfield Company bill to Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Buffalo-Springfield Company bill to Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Payment receipt to Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company for Kingston Highway Department, 1924
Payment receipt to Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company for Kingston Highway Department, 1924

 

Sources: Town of Kingston Annual Reports; TOK-5 Accounting

A friend at sea

The schooner Cordova, 93 tons, 69′ in length with a beam of 18 ‘ and a draft of 8’, was built in Kingston in 1835 by Lysander Bartlett for Benjamin Delano.  Described by Henry Jones in Ships of Kingston as a full-bowed vessel, with masts raked well aft, bowsprits steeved very high and ports painted in the old style, she sailed to the West Indies, along the New England coast and throughout Atlantic fishing grounds until 1882.

In 1835 Cordova brought in a haul of 42,000 fish from the Grand Banks, but in 1855, she engaged in a different kind of business there, one that may have saved a sister schooner.

Receipt for an anchor, 1855
Receipt for an anchor, 1855

Grand Bank, August 29th 1855

Received on Board the Schr [schooner] called the Mary Brewer of Castine, from on Board Schr. Cordova of Kingston viz. one anchor weighing two hundred and fifty pounds, and the stock belonging thereunto for which I promise to pay the owners of the Cordova or return said anchor &c in good order. James Brophy

The Mary Brewer, a schooner of 115 tons, 77′ by 21′ by 8′, had been built in Vinalhaven, ME in 1852, but sailed from Castine. She was one of the largest of the Grand Bankers in the Penobscot Bay area.

For more on Grand Banks fishing, take a look at this Smithsonian exhibit.

Source: MC13 Arthur Beane Collection/Jones River Village Historical Society; Ships of Kingston by Henry Jones.

New Exhibit: The Margaret Warnsman Collection

To mark the passing of Margaret Warnsman, a former Library Trustee and Local History Room donor, this month’s exhibit features a small selection from the papers, photographs and other materials Margaret collected and gave to the Town of Kingston, in care of the Library.

One of my favorite things is finding something completely unexpected, and Margaret’s collection did not disappoint.  In browsing for items to display, I opened a folder titled “Scholarship donations, 1924” to find several pages of names and figures  in pencil.

Scholarship donations, 1924
Scholarship donations, 1924

Pretty standard, until I turned the page.

Order form for opium, etc. circa 1910
Order form for opium, etc. circa 1910

Travelling in stereo

804 On the Sugar Levee, New Orleans, La., 1901
804 On the Sugar Levee, New Orleans, La., 1901

Sometime early in the last century, someone at the Frederic C. Adams Public Library bought just over 600 stereoviews.  The views date from 1893 to 1907 and show a wide variety of places around the United States and the world, with commentary from Baedecker’s and other travel guides on the back.

805 The Cotton Levee, New Orleans, LA., 1901
805 The Cotton Levee, New Orleans, LA., 1901

Using a stereoscope to view the double pictures in 3D, library patrons in Kingston could travel the world without leaving Summer Street.

Motormen

Three motormen, no date
Three motormen, no date

In the search for photographs for the summertime exhibit, these three images turned up.  As seen in earlier posts, the Plymouth & Kingston trolley, which started in 1886, merged with other lines and expanded until the tracks reached Brockton in 1900.   The emergence of Kingston as a summer destination and the development of the cottage communities of Rocky Nook quickly followed.

The company evolved into the Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway, which (despite its name) runs buses on the South Shore.

Inside a trolley, no date
Inside a trolley, no date

While it’s not clear if these men are motormen (drivers) or conductors (ticket takers, schedule keepers and safety inspectors), they seem very serious about the work at hand, or at least about posing for the photographer.

Two motormen and friend, no date
Two conductors and friend, no date

Not to mention well-armed.

Visitors

Mr. Sterry and John, 1911
Mr. Sterry and John, 1911

On June 2, 1911, one of this upstanding pair wrote to Michael McGrath announcing an imminent visit.

"Mr. Sterry & myself will be in Kingston nex week," 1911
"Mr. Sterry & myself will be in Kingston nex week," 1911

In the 1910 federal census, Michael McGrath is listed as a 57 year old foreman and farmer who owned a home and land on Elm Street.  He appeared in an earlier post posing with a team of oxen while working on the Bailey Playground in 1926. The census is no help in identifying Mr. Sterry, and without a last name, John could be anybody.

Yum, yum, rum.

Capt. Ezra Fuller to Charles Adams, Jan. 4, 1827
Capt. Ezra Fuller to Charles Adams, Jan. 4, 1827

Capt. Ezra Fuller To Charles Adams Dr.

1827, Jan 4

To Powder + Shot ..56
” Paying Pilotage at the Bar 10..00
” 2 Gallons Rum 1..20
” 4 lb. Nails ..40
” 1 qt Rum ..15
” 1 lb. Tobacco ..20
” 1 qt Rum ..15
” 4 3/8 Gallons Rum 2..62 1/2
1 Bushel Peas ..50
Cash12..00

$27.78 1/2