Category Archives: Jones River

For National Poetry Month: “A-sailing Down Jones River”

Sailboat on the water, no date
Sailboat on the water, no date

A-sailing Down Jones River

Do you recall one night in June,
When sailing down Jones River,
We listened to the Bullfrog’s tune
And watched the moonbeams quiver?
I oft since then have watched the moon
But never, love, ah never, never,
Can I forget that night in June
While sailing down Jones River.
Can I forget that night in June
While sailing down Jones River.
Can I forget that night in June
While sailing down Jones River.
Can I forget that night in June
And the moonlight on Jones River

Our boat went drifting toward the Bay,
By the wharves along the river,
Those old, old wharves where the good ships lay,
In the days now gone forever.
The busy hum of toil is o’er;
On the ways no ships were standing, standing
Holmes, Cushman, Bartlett, Drew, were gone;
All silent lay The Landing.
Can I forget that night in June
When sailing down Jones River?
Can I forget that Bullfrog’s tune
And the moonlight on Jones River?

Catherine Drew Russell

It was customary in earlier days for boating parties in the river or out into the Bay, to drift and sing. Moonlight parties were especially popular. Popular tunes of the day were often sung with original words, like the above, following the general idea of the song but adapted to the mood of the party. Miss Russell was very apt at impromptu rhyming and this is one of the songs composed at the time and recalled in later years. We used the song with its original music at the meeting of the Jones River Village Club, when Miss Russell gave her Musical Reminiscences of Kingston, with different members assisting in the vocal and instrumental examples. E.F.D. [Emily Fuller Drew]

Sources: IC-11 Delano Photograph Collection; PC-36 Poetry

Landscape

View across the Jones River from Rocky Nook, undated
View across the Jones River from Rocky Nook, undated

 

There are a number of similar views in the Local History Room collections, captured by the anonymous eye of an unknown photographer, but this one stood out today.  The sweep of the land, the curves of the river, the angle of railroad bridge, the scattered buildings at the waterside and up on the hill, and one solitary sailboat are now a moment fixed in time here, yet long gone.

New Exhibit: The Elm Street Bridge

The Elm Street dam and bridge over the Jones River, before 1920
The Elm Street dam and bridge over the Jones River, before 1920

Sometime before 1920, Emily Drew photographed the wooden dam at Elm Street before it was replaced by a concrete structure.  She also captured the old iron bridge constructed in 1889 to carry Elm Street over the Jones River.  Stop by the library to learn more about the bridge.

 

New Exhibit: Summertime

This month’s exhibit celebrates summer in Kingston with picnics and parades, fresh sweet corn from the farmer’s market, swimming, fishing, and just lounging on the grass eating ice cream.

Horse-drawn float in the 200th Anniversary Parade, 1926
Horse-drawn float in the 200th Anniversary Parade, 1926

Here’s the front of a float in Kingston’s 200th Anniversary Parade, which rolled on August 20, 1926.  The four boys behind the float seem very interested in whatever’s going on behind that shack…

Bathing beauties on 200th Anniversary Parade float, 1926
Bathing beauties on 200th Anniversary Parade float, 1926

Well, yeah, that’s why!

River

Jones River, no date
Jones River, no date

Some time ago, an unknown photographer captured this moment of tranquility on the river.  The Old Colony Railroad bridge can be seen in the distance at left, along with at least one of the boathouses that stand between Landing Road and the riverbank. The stone wall at right is the end of the seawall (or river-wall) that runs from the Great Bridge along the property that was once Alexander Holmes’ Jones River Farm.

Sailing, Sailing

Kittiwake V, no date
Kittiwake V, no date

Kingston’s storied history of building ocean-going sailing vessels stretches from about 1713, when shipwright Samuel Drew and his son Cornelius set up shop on the Jones River, until 1874, when Edward Holmes launched the brig Helen A. Holmes, or perhaps until 1898 when Edward Ransom built only Kingston’s only steamer, the Tiger. As the era of great sailing ships passed away, for a short time Kingston ruled the yachting world.

Miladi and Rattler, no date
Miladi and Rattler, no date

This month’s exhibit highlights some of the knockabouts, catboats and spritsails built in Kingston and raced in local waters by members of the Kingston Yacht Club, whose annual regatta is this weekend.

For your holiday viewing and shopping pleasure!

The Friends of the Kingston Public Library are offering a lovely set of notecards featuring 12 historic scenes of Kingston from the Local History Room.  Some larger prints of these photographs are on display in the lobby.  Please stop by, take a look and if you like, pick up a box of cards for the low, low price of $10.

Kingston passenger railroad station, no date.
Kingston passenger railroad station, no date.
Frederic C. Adams Library, 1908
Frederic C. Adams Library, 1908
The Holmes shipyard at the Landing, about 1890
The Holmes shipyard at the Landing, about 1890

A different kind of boat picture

Boat shop interior, no date
Boat shop interior, no date

 

This photograph just turned up in a recent donation to the Local History Room.  It has no date, no place, nothing beyond the image itself.  Context and best guesses, however, suggest that it dates to the late 19th century and shows the interior of one of the small boatyards on the Jones River.  Further, the vessel under construction very likely belonged to a member of the Holmes family.  More research may turn up additional information.  In the meantime, enjoy the unusual view.