There’s a spot in Kingston just west of Exit 9 on Route 3, elevation about 68 feet, which has been long known as Thomas’ Hill.
[This screen shot is from the Town’s GIS, which is just amazing. Give it a try!]
In her 1933 description of Kingston place names, Emily Fuller Drew tells us that
Colonel Thomas’ Hill is located from the Great Bridge up the slope, going south of the River. This hill was named for the Thomas family whose home was located on the hill.
That’s this house.
Here’s a view south, up the hill towards the Thomas House, taken from a spot just before the Great Bridge over the Jones River.
And here are a couple of views looking the opposite way down the hill.
[This wood cut is from this book, originally published in 1839.]
And here’s one of indeterminate direction, but with a nice shady feel to it.
These images all bear the description “Thomas’ Hill,” because that’s what’s it’s been called for quite some time. Now, though, there’s a need to update our shared geographical vocabulary. There’s a whole group of Kingstonians with a completely different point of reference, for whom this area doesn’t relate at all to an 18th century Kingston family or their stately home atop the hill.
Let the historical record now reflect the vernacular alternative: “HoJo Hill.”
Source: Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4; LHR Image Collection IC7; Mitchell Toabe Papers MC18; and highwayhost.org.
The Local History Room recently received a trove of old ledgers from H. K. Keith & Co. These hand-written record books track inventory in the general store, customer accounts and daily sales, like this apparently busy Saturday exactly 153 years ago today.
It appears that the column between the item and the price is a code for the purchaser’s account.
Henry Kingman Keith (1826-1909) was born in North Bridgewater and spent some time in Duxbuy, but lived most of his adult life in Kingston.
In 1847, he married Vesta Snell Cary (1827-1903).
Keith built his general store in Kingston in 1848, just three years after the Old Colony Railroad first drove through town.
The store was a success, and would thrive under a variety of owners and retail formats: Lewis H. Keith, Henry and Vesta’s son; Burges and Keith; Burges and Bailey; Toabe Hardware; Kingston Hardware; Crossroads Liquor; Trackside Liquor (and possibly more).
The building has been enlarged and lowered and added-onto; here’s a more recent look.
This is the Reverend Augustus Russell Pope (1819-1855), minister of Kingston’s First Parish Church, or as it was then known, First Congregational Society, from 1844 to 1849. The biographical piece linked above lauds Pope’s work in Kingston, particularly his work with the Town’s schools.
This is Lucy Ann Meacham Pope (1820-1870), the Reverend’s wife, who was originally from Cambridge. They married in 1843, just after his ordination.
So, portraits of a couple who briefly lived in Kingston and a later photo of their house: is there more to this story? Why, yes, there is.
It’s always helpful to have full names and important dates for the people in the pictures; since neither of the Pope was a native Kingstonian, some research was required. That process produced an interesting scrap of a much larger history. A few years after Pope left Kingston for a ministry in Somerville, he received Patent Number 9,802 for “Improvement in Electro-Magnetic Alarms.”
And as sometimes happens when deep in the research, a clerihew popped out.
Gave us all hope
And saved us from harm
With his burglar alarm.
Sources: Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4; Massachusetts Historical Commission/ MACRIS Digital Photographs IC13
One August in the middle of the 1930s, Emily Fuller Drew took some photos to document the Old Lucas House on Pembroke Street. Her file card for one of the lantern slides made from these negatives reads:
William Cooke was son of Jacob Cooke Jr. mentioned in #38. He inherited & bought a great deal of land west of the Bradford lands. This very old house was built on Cooke land but must have stood close to the Bradford bounds. Major John Bradford gave the North Precinct or Jones River parish a piece of woodland from his homestead farm. The entrance or right-of-way to the Parish woodlot leaves Pembroke St. diagonally opp. the old house. Directly opp. the house is, or was, the White Pine Nursery. The owners bought the woodlot from the Parish; it lies between the nursery buildings and the R.R. tracks. Even if the Bradford-Cooke line were very irregular, it would seem the Bradford lands must have come very near the old house here shown. About 100 years ago, a son of the Lucas family built a house to the east of his father’s, which later burned. The cellar of the latter house still shows with a medium sized pine tree growing in it. Lucas ran the grist mill at Brackett’s. (# __).
A second card further explains:
Wm Cooke owned the land first, and probably built the house for himself or his daughter ___ who married ___ Wright . A granddaughter ___ Wright married ___Lucas and the farm and the old house came down for two three generations in the Lucas family. This is the first house after you overpass the R.R. at Brookdale, on Pembroke St.
Before it was demolished in 2002, the house was variously known as the old Lucas House, the Cooke-Wright-Lucas House, and later the Tangley Place.
The name of the dog is unknown.
Sources: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16; Jones River Village Historical Society Collection MC29
There’s a reception! And an exhibit!
Breakfasts start later in the summer.
Check the Jones River Village Historical Society’s website for more information.
Source: LHR General Image Collection IC7
Asa Cook Hammond (1826-1913) was a carpenter or housewright, who was born Pembroke, but lived in Kingston from around 1850 until his death. He married Amanda Clark, a dressmaker from Plympton in 1849; they had several children. Both are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.
Asa is identified as the figure in the foreground of the photograph but the woman and two boys are not, though it seems likely they are Asa’s wife and children.
The Hammond’s house, built in the Queen Anne style with an unusual center hall plan and set perpendicular to the road, still stands at 40 Wapping Road.
As part of the celebrations for Kingston’s 275th anniversary in 2001, the Friends of the 275th commissioned a set of blocks depicting eight iconic Kingston buildings: the old Town House, the Center Primary school (now called the Faunce School), the Pumping Station, the passenger station (now the restaurant Solstice), the First Parish Church, the Major John Bradford House, the now-gone Kingston High School, and Delano’s Wharf, shown here from the rarely seen bay side.
The blocks, along with photographs from the Local History Room, as on display this month in the Library lobby.
Now that the summer weather has arrived, do you miss the snow? The glass plate negative above shows Main Street looking north to Linden Street, while the one below shows the opposite view south on Main near the intersection with Brook Street.
If you’ve ever wondered why the building at 7 Green Street, right across from the Library, has a sign on the front that reads “Adams Lodge, IOOF, 1900” stop by and have a look at this month’s exhibit.
Now that fall has arrived, the snow cannot be far behind.