Ada Brewster, born in Kingston on May 25, 1842, lived a fascinating life. She served as a nurse at Lovell General Hopsital in Rhode Island during the Civil War; worked at the U.S. Mint in Carson City, Nevada during the production of the first trade dollar coined by the federal government; studied art at the Lowell Institute in Boston and the California School of Design (now the San Francisco Art Institute); opened her own art studio and became known as a portraitist, illustrator, china-painter, and teacher; and moved all over the country before returning home to Kingston in 1919. Stop by to learn more in this month’s Local History exhibit, featuring a selection of Ada’s sketches from her time out West.
Source: This sketch comes from the Ada Brewster Collection (MC24).
Today marks the 281st anniversary of the death of Major John Bradford, as he died December 8, 1736.
The inscription on his gravestone reads:
Here lyes y body
of Mayjear JohnBradford who decDecbr y 8th1736 iny 84th yearof his agehe lived near 62years with his wife
Major John Bradford, born February 20, 1652, was the grandson of Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony. He married Mercy Warren in 1674, with whom he had ten children. Major Bradford likely earned his title during King Philip’s War (1675-76).
Major John Bradford is also remembered as a benefactor of the town, as he gave 14 acres of land to the North or Jones River Precinct of Plymouth (now Kingston) in 1717 for the purposes of a “Burying Place,” a “Training Field,” and a “Meeting House” — now the land on which the Old Burying Ground, Training Green, First Parish Church, and old Town House sit.
The Jones River Village Club (now the Jones River Village Historical Society) purchased and restored his homestead at 50 Landing Road in 1921 before opening it to the public in August of the same year. It is now open on select days during the summer.
Source: Images from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).
One of this season’s new movies, The Post, recounts The Washington Post’s efforts to publish the Pentagon Papers.
Here in the Local History Room, we have a four-volume set of the Pentagon Papers, published by Beacon Press in 1971. As director of the publisher, Kingston’s own Gobin Stair played a decisive role in accepting Senator Mike Gravel’s proposal to publish the papers for the first time in book form and subsequently ensuring that Beacon could shoulder the political pressure, financial burden, and logistical obstacles they encountered throughout the publication process.
The first volume in our set is signed by Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who released the papers to the newspapers. If you’d like to see it for yourself, just let us know!
Gobin Stair was also a distinguished artist. He created the Alphabet Mural—depicting the evolution of language, literacy, and communication—that we are lucky to have on the wall of our meeting room. A supporter of libraries, he wrote at the time of the mural’s opening, “The Alphabet Mural calls attention to a major human accomplishment. It also declares our awareness of responsibility to meet the needs of readers right here in our growing Kingston.” Well said.
If you’re interested in some further reading, the Beacon Broadside just posted a great piece called “Our Civic Duty: Why We Published the Pentagon Papers.”
During November, the lobby display case will feature a selection of photos, invitations, and dance cards from throughout Kingston’s history. Did you know that ballroom etiquette once prescribed ladies to carry dance cards to pencil in the names of gentlemen who had reserved a dance? Or that in 1875, Kingston residents held a Thanksgiving Ball to celebrate the holiday? Stop by to learn more!
Source: Image from the Mary Hathaway Collection (MC21).
Take a look at these Halloween costume winners at Kingston Elementary School back in 1952!
Source: This image is from the School Photographs Collection (IC5).
While going through a box of photographs, I came across this striking image of Ted Avery, holding a mask in front of his face just inside the doorway of his costume shop on Summer Street. With Halloween just around the corner, it was too fitting not to share!
Source: Image from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7)
For more on Kingston’s Welcome Home parade, see this post.
Source: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16. Negatives scanned with LSTA funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and digitized at the Boston Public Library in conjunction with the Digital Commonwealth)
Yes, the Local History Room is full of old stuff, but sometimes we get new old stuff, new to us anyway. One of our recent accessions is a small trove of photographs, most not well identified, of boats built by George W. Shiverick in his shop on the Jones River. This unique collection was donated by Shiverick’s grand-daughter.
This particular snapshot stands out because it’s labeled in the hand of former Frederic C. Adams Librarian Ethel J. Shiverick (George’s daughter-in-law, in case you didn’t know) as follows:
Geo. W. Shiverick aboard “Alice,” personal boat, named for wife. EJS
We have so few paper fragments of this legendary boat-builder’s life and work, that a photo of him in his very own boat is just special.
Source: George W. Shiverick Collection AC8
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.