Decoration Day, which we now know as Memorial Day, started in 1868. Kingston’s first documented observance was 1879, with formal Town funding starting in 1881. Stop by the Library to see photographs of Memorial Day parades dating back over a century.
Source: Mary Hathaway Collection MC21
Another Memorial Day is upon us. Here are a few photos from the Local History Room collections which provide a glimpse of one of Kingston’s Memorial Day parades sometime before 1961.*
*This date is based on a flag carried by the color guard, which reads “U.S.S. Des Moines.” This heavy cruiser was launched in 1946 and decommissioned in 1961.
Source: LHR General Image Collection IC7
As a descendant of First Comers and an indefatigable researcher of their occupations, genealogies, land swaps and lawsuits, Emily Fuller Drew was perhaps more entitled than most to dress up like a Pilgrim. It certainly seems to have suited her.
In honor of this most American holiday, here are a few views of one of our favorite floats from the inaugural year: the “Guardians of the Clam Flats.”
Source: LHR General Images IC7 (top two); Hathaway Collection MC21
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One of the things I love about this blog is the list of search terms that people use to get here. It’s like a secret glimpse of what they want, and the sometimes very specific and other times wildly divergent ways they describe whatever that is. The top searches are a mix of general and Kingston-centric — Nick’s Rock, delivery wagons, dance cards, famous hermits, Old Colony Railroad, all with hundreds of hits. But my all-time favorite is a little ways down the list, at 23 searches over the last 4 or so years: leprechaun couple.
So glad I could oblige!
Putting together an exhibit for Valentine’s Day, I found this postcard. Cataloging it for our online picture collection (coming soon!), I found this subject heading in the LOC’s TGM: “Courtship. Use for Courting, Flirtation, Wooing.” Yes, I think that just does capture it.
Source: MC11 Joseph Cushman Finney Papers
Staged to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s landing, the 1921 Pageant of the Pilgrim Spirit was a sprawling, epic production. Among its stranger elements — ranking alongside William Bradford’s premonition of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and the Prologue and Finale spoken by “The Voice of the Rock” — has to be the appearance of the Norsemen.
The pageant program dates the appearance of these early visitors in Plymouth to about 1000 AD, and describes the performance as “played in pantomime to music.” Only one role is specifically named — Thorwald played by John Delano — but 46 men from Kingston, Duxbury, Plymouth and Marshfield are named as players in this scene, including Kingston’s Town Clerk of many years George Cushman.
Given the Norsemen’s spectacular outfits, it seems a shame that Plymouth Rock got more lines.
The program is online in full here.
Source: Jones River Village Historical Society Collection (photo); Vertical Files: “The Pilgrim Spirit” (program).
“To Russell from Wilfred”
Source: Loring Postcard Collection