Category Archives: Local History Room

Anything local history related

60 Main Street

Four people, two sitting and two standing, in front of the Elbridge G. Winsor house
Elbridge G. Winsor house at 60 Main Street, c. 1905

In this photo, a group of people (unidentified) appear to be enjoying the shade on a nice, sunny day.  One of the women is holding a small dog in her arms. They’re gathered in front of the Elbridge G. Windsor House at 60 Main Street, built around 1860.

 

Source: Image from the Delano Photograph Collection IC11.

Letter from a mother to her daughter on the day of her wedding

Note from Hannah Thomas Brewster Adams to Hannah Thomas Adams, likely January 1, 1857
Note from Hannah Thomas Brewster Adams to Hannah Thomas Adams, likely January 1, 1857

 

On January 1, 1857, Hannah Thomas Adams married Azel Washburn, a 27-year-old fisherman. Her mother, Hannah Thomas Brewster Adams, wrote her a note which reads:

To Hannah on the day of her marriage

Dear and only daughter in part Farewell! Ever since your birth you have been with me and an object of my greatest care and attention, Now we part! One roof no longer shelters us, our homes are not the same—You go to a new sphere of action new cares, connections and dutys [sic] attend you without doubt new anxieties and troubles—May you conduct with prudence and discretion performing every part conscientiously as far as in your power—

We are left alone, as when we commenced life together—But not the same as the hoary? head, the dim eye, and feeble step plainly tell. May we each and all live peacably [sic], be provided for comfortably, perform each and every duty faithfully, and at last receive the welcome reward of faithful servants of our Lord

From your Mother

 

Source: Letter from the Helen Adams Collection MC23. 

Combating an Invasive Species: The Gypsy Moth Infestation

Illustration of gypsy moth caterpillar and adult
Illustration from “The Home and School Reference Work, Volume IV” by The Home and School Education Society, H. M. Dixon, President and Managing Editor, published in 1917 by The Home and School Education Society. Image file found here.

 

Today, we may see gypsy moths outside our homes or in our woodlands and think nothing of them, but this insect has a tumultuous history in the United States.

In 1869, an amateur entomologist imported this species from Europe to his home in Medford, Massachusetts. He intended to use the moths to breed a silk-spinning moth that would be more resistant to disease than the domestic silkmoth. Unsurprisingly, several adult moths escaped from their enclosures, setting a number of problems in motion that we continue to grapple with today.

Stop by to learn more about Kingston’s efforts to eradicate this pest in this month’s local history exhibit!

Black and white photo. Two large blooming trees

Arbor Day

Orchard behind C. Drew's house, c. 1925
Orchard behind C. Drew’s house, c. 1925

 

Happy Arbor Day! Here are a couple snapshots of some lovely trees from the orchard behind “C. Drew’s house” on Summer Street. C. Drew either refers to Charles Drew or Christopher Prince Drew, co-founder of C. Drew and Company, both of whom lived on Summer Street.

 

Orchard behind C. Drew's house, c. 1925
Orchard behind C. Drew’s house, c. 1925

 

Source: Images from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).

A flyer inviting people to attend a Centennial Military and Fancy Dress Party.

A Centennial, Military and Fancy Dress Party

Invitation sent to Horatio Adams for "A Centennial, Military and Fancy Dress Party," 1876
Invitation sent to Horatio Adams for “A Centennial, Military and Fancy Dress Party,” 1876

 

1876 marked the 100th anniversary of nationhood for the United States. On April 12th of that year, a “Centennial, Military and Fancy Dress Party” was held at Fuller’s Hall (which burned down in 1900) in support of the “Massachusetts Women’s Centennial Fund.” The invitation above was sent to Horatio Adams, Kingston resident and self-proclaimed “Capitalist.”

Attendees must have enjoyed a night of dancing, as Joyce’s Quadrille Band provided the music for the evening. The quadrille was a type of group dance commonly featured at events such as this during the nineteenth century. Four couples faced each other in a square formation, performing a set of figures to music with eight-bar phrases. It was popular in part due its familiar figures and its numerous variants, like the waltz, polka, schottish, Esmerelda, and mazurka.

 

Source: Document from the Invitations and Calling Cards Collection PC8.

Black and white photo. Photo of the bust of a man with curly hair and a beard

Childhood Hours by Cousin Benja

Portrait of Benjamin Mitchell, c. 1860
Portrait of Benjamin Mitchell, c. 1860

 

Benjamin Mitchell (1827-1865), who wrote as Cousin Benja, is featured in this month’s exhibit. He spent all of his life in Kingston and composed poetry and essays primarily about nature, God, and the spirit. The following poem is included in a collection of his works, Poems and Letters, compiled by his sister after he died.

 

Childhood Hours

Oh, give me back my childhood hours,
When I was young, and free
To roam among the woodland bowers,
By mountain side and lea!
To chase beneath the noonday sun
The golden butterfly;
And sail my boat upon the tide,
Beneath the sunset sky.

Oh, give me back my mountain hours,
When not a care I knew;
With heart as gay as summer flowers,
And light as evening dew!
To trace along the hidden path,
That winds by rock and stream;
And pluck the daisy from its bed,
Among the mossy green!

Oh, give me back my childhood hours,
My schoolmates young and gay;
To roam again in quest of flowers,
The pleasant fields of May!
And then at noon to sit and chat,
Beneath the greenwood tree;
And eat our bread and butter there,
And call it “taking tea!”

Oh, give me back my childhood hours,
The dearest to my heart;
When I could sit in Nature’s bowers
And see the day depart.
When I could view the Queen of Night
In lovely beauty dressed,
Casting her silver rays of light,
To make the earth look blest!

Oh, give me back my childhood hours,
Where memory loves to dwell—
Too dear they are to be forgot,
I ever loved them well;
But childhood hours, and halcyon scenes,
Will ne’er return again;
And I must learn to leave my boyhood dreams,
And live like other men!

 

Source: Cousin Benja. Poems and Letters. Plymouth: Memorial and Rock Press, 1866. 

Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927

Summer Street, 1927

In March 1927, Emily Fuller Drew (seen here in her Tercentenary costume) took these photos of Summer Street, looking south toward the center of Town, just after Town Meeting voted to widen the street.Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927 Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927

Summer Street had been previously straightened and/or widened in 1846, 1856, 1905 and 1922, when a number of very early houses around the Point fell victim to highway work.

This time the casualties were the gracious trees that lined and shaded the street.  Emily wrote “Maples and elms lined our Summer Street in the old days..the green tunnel which was our street before the trees were cut down in 1927, to allow for widening the thorofare. Summer Street was the Boston Road which superseded the Bay Path as a highway from Plymouth to Boston.”

Her cousins Mary W. Drew and Jennie McLauthlen (Kingston’s first librarian) made their position clear in this handbill, but to no avail: the proposal was approved, the street widened, and the trees all taken down.

Handbill about the removal of trees required by a proposed project to widen Summer Street, March 1927

Sources: Photos from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16. Handbill from Vertical Files OC2 “Summer Street.” Additional information from Street Files TOK6 “Summer Street.”

Black and white photo of a dirt road with trees. A house and a church are on the left side of the road

Seeing double

Seth Washburn House, corner of Evergreen and Summer Streets, c. 1865
Seth Washburn House, corner of Evergreen and Summer Streets, c. 1865

 

In the Local History Room we have a number of stereoscopic photographs, known as stereographs or stereoviews. These prints feature two nearly identical images, side by side, typically mounted on a 3.5-by-7-inch card. When viewed through a stereoscope, they create the illusion of a single three-dimensional picture. They were popular among commercial and amateur photographers from the late 1850s to the 1920s.

The three stereoviews featured here belong to a series called “Views of Marshfield and vicinity” by M. Chandler of Marshfield.

 

Main Street, looking south, c. 1865
Main Street, looking south, c. 1865

 

Thomas Hill, looking north, c. 1865
Thomas Hill, looking north, c. 1865

 

 

Source: Images from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7).