August 22 was a Saturday in 1863 too

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.

Page 138 from H.K. Keith's 1863 register of daily sales

Page 138 from H.K. Keith’s 1863 register of daily sales

Page 139 from H.K. Keith's 1863 register of daily sales

Page 139 from H.K. Keith’s 1863 register of daily sales

Page 140 from H.K. Keith's 1863 register of daily sales

Page 140 from H.K. Keith’s 1863 register of daily sales

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.

Henry Kingman Keith, portrait, circa 1860

Henry Kingman Keith, portrait, circa 1860

In 1847, he married Vesta Snell Cary (1827-1903).

Vesta Snell Carey Keith, portrait, circa 1860

Vesta Snell Carey Keith, portrait, circa 1860

Keith built his general store in Kingston in 1848, just three years after the Old Colony Railroad first drove through town.

H. K. Keith and Company General Store, 58-60 Summer Street, circa 1860

H. K. Keith and Company General Store, 58-60 Summer Street, circa 1860

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).

Two men at the entrance of the store at 58-60 Summer Street, circa 1875

Two men at the entrance of the store at 58-60 Summer Street, circa 1875

The building has been enlarged and lowered and added-onto; here’s a more recent look.

58-60 Summer Street, 1998

58-60 Summer Street, 1998

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Two people, one house and a clerihew

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.

Reverend Augustus Russell Pope, seated portrait, circa 1845

Reverend Augustus Russell Pope, seated portrait, circa 1845

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.

Lucy A. Meacham Pope, head and shoulders portrait, circa 1845

Lucy A. Meacham Pope, head and shoulders portrait, circa 1845

This is the lovely home they built at 4 Elm Street in 1844; it now houses Hope Floats.

Reverend Augustus Pope House, 4 Elm Street, 1998

Reverend Augustus Pope House, 4 Elm Street, 1998. Photo from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

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.

Augustus Pope
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

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com

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Photobombing is not a new thing

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.

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.

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.

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.

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935

Lucas House, 159 Pembroke Street, August 1935.

The name of the dog is unknown.

Sources: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16; Jones River Village Historical Society Collection MC29 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com

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New Exhibit: Summertime

Red Cross swimming lessons behind Delano's Wharf, circa 1945

Red Cross swimming lessons behind Delano’s Wharf, circa 1945

There’s a new exhibit in the Local History case in the Library lobby.  Stop by to see photos of summers past in Kingston: ice cream, beaches, picnics and more.

 

Source: Mary Hathaway Collection MC21

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com

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Here come the First Comers!

Plymouth Tercentenary Pageant, 1920

Plymouth Tercentenary Pageant, 1920

In 1920, the South Shore celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival in a six-month frenzy of Pilgrim-related activities, including a sprawling outdoor pageant — more detail here — featuring Kingstonians like Emily Fuller Drew in full Pilgrim dress.

In 2020, just five short years from now, the 400th anniversary will be upon us, and the planning has already begun. The next meeting of the Kingston Historical Commission (June 10, 7:00 p.m. at the Kingston Town House on Evergreen Street) will feature a presentation from Plymouth 400, the group coordinating Plymouth’s commemorative events.

If you’re interested in this century’s version of a marching Viking horde, stop by to find out what’s in the works and what part Kingston can play. (Long-time Kingston Town Clerk George W. Cushman is listed in the pageant program as one of the Norsemen; maybe the incumbent can be persuaded into costume…)

March of all explorers who came before the Pilgrims in 1620, Plymouth Tercentenary Pageant, 1920

March of all explorers who came before the Pilgrims in 1620, Plymouth Tercentenary Pageant, 1920. Photo by E.P. McLaughlin, Plymouth

Source: Jones River Village Historical Society Collection MC29

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com

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The devil is in the details

Lyman Cushman's barns and sheds, Elm Street, 1925

Lyman Cushman’s barns and sheds, Elm Street, 1925

Emily Fuller Drew wrote an extensive caption on the back of a print of this image:

1925 Lyman Cushman’s barns and shed on Elm St. Taken from the now Harper barn. A freshet tore down thro the valley, the Winter Meadow Brook and the canal which took its place, washing out dam and canal and changing the valley as shown. The dam or dyke at Russells Pond was rebuilt but a new canal from the Pond to Sylvys Place Pond was made to replace the former one. Part of the bank of the old canal shows near Pine Tree at right.

Another view of the area was featured here. The main house to which the outbuildings belong, the Lyman Cushman/John Cushman house at 16 Sylvia Place Road, isn’t shown. The Harper barn from which Emily took the photo, sits behind the house at 4 Sylvia Place Road.

A discerning eye can just make out a figure, maybe a man, seated in a chair propped up against the shingled wall with a table at his left.  It could be Lyman Cushman (1851-1925); we don’t know. We don’t have a photo of him, and Emily didn’t mention him in the caption, but just a couple of photos later…

Lyman Cushman's cat, 1925

Lyman Cushman’s cat, 1925

Emily walked up the hill from the Harper’s barn and took this photo, which she later captioned “Lyman Cushman’s cat.” Nice detail.

Source: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com

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New Exhibit: Memorial Day

Memorial Day exercises on the Training Green, circa 1943

Memorial Day exercises on the Training Green, circa 1943

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

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.co

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Rock bowl?

Rock formation in the woods, circa 1925

Rock formation in the woods, circa 1925

Rock formation in the woods, circa 1925

Rock formation in the woods, circa 1925

These two negatives have no accompanying information whatsoever, but the intriguing rock formation may be the result of the glaciers that covered the area about 23,000 years ago, and could well show one of the “punch bowls” Emily Fuller Drew wrote about in her 1933 notes on places around town.

The Punch Bowls have almost disappeared, from the top of Stony Brook Hill. They were of glacial origin, huge bowls or “scouts” in the sandy glacial “dump”. Five of them where located within a short distance of Prouty’s Garage. The largest was where A.S. Parker’s Ice Cream stand is, north of Prouty’s Garage. This was used as a public dump for years, without making much impression on the hollow, then the stumps and trunks of the beautiful elm trees taken from Stony Brook Hill when the highway was “improved” were thrown there, and later material was brought from other place and the great bowl entirely filled in to make the yard which goes with the Parker place.

Two others, twin bowls, stood on the east (right hand) side of Tremont Street, beyond Prouty’s Garage. One of these was filled in, and the new construction caused by the widening and straightening of the road at that point completely obliterated it. The other, not noticeable from the highway because it is masked by a good growth of pine trees, probably still exists. A shallow one is being used as a public dump behind the “Garden of Allah Coffee House”, in the development called “Fort Payne”. The fifth is behind the house of Mr. Charles Childs at the top of Stony Brook Hill. All these Punch Bowls, almost perfect shape, were caused by the swirling of ice and water in the glacial period, of which Kingston has other interesting evidence.

Source: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com

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Well, well, well, that’s the Point

The Point, at the junction of Main and Summer Streets, 1886

The Point, at the junction of Main and Summer Streets, 1886

One of the many lantern slides collected by Emily Fuller Drew for the Jones River Village Historical Society, this image shows the Point, where Summer Street peals away from Main Street. It was the center of Kingston before the railroad came through.

The index card of Emily’s notes on this slide reads:

20. “The Point,” jct. Main & Summer Sts. 1886

Main Street was formerly the Bridgewater Road; Summer was in early day called the Boston Road. Where they joined or separated, was called the “Point.” The well which was built by Samuel Foster, Benjamin Samson and Joseph Stacey on Mr. Stacey’s land was called the Point Well and, as time went on, the Old Point Well. The Rev. Samuel Glover, minister of the Baptist Society lived at #39. His son Henry was born there. In memory of his early days in Kingston. Mr. Henry Glover in his later and wealthier years, gave the Town of K a drinking fountain for dumb animals to be placed at The Point and a sum of money to maintain it. (Mr. Glover also gave funds for the present Baptist Church and a fund to maintain it.)

Emily’s “#39” refers not to an address, but to another lantern slide.

Samuel Foster house, 25 Summer Street, 1922

Samuel Foster house, 25 Summer Street, 1922

The corresponding card:

39. Samuel Foster house (front) 1922

In 172_, Samuel Foster bought of Maj. John Bradford a piece of land, part of the Bradford farm, joining the land of John Brewster, #135, and lying on the east side of Boston Road ( Summer St.) Here Foster built a house in which he lived __ years. In 175_, he sold the place to Wrestling Brewster, son of Deacon Wrestling and built a second house, a much larger and more pretentious house, nearer the junction of Green and Summer Streets, the present Harry Cook house (east side of Summer St.).

And, #135 refers to…

135. John Brewster house, Main and Linden Streets, 1922

135. John Brewster house, Main and Linden Streets, 1922

This was one of several houses on Main and Summer Streets that were demolished in the early 1920s…oh, we could follow Emily’s references around for days! But let’s stop there and go back to the Point. The well in the first lantern slide was replaced in 1888 with this public watering trough or as Emily put it, “drinking fountain for dumb animals.”

Henry R. Glover Watering Trough, 1997

Henry R. Glover Watering Trough, 1997

Here’s the benefactor himself, Henry Rogers Glover (1814-1893), “in his later and wealthier years.”

Henry R. Glover, seated portrait, circa 1890

Henry R. Glover, seated portrait, circa 1890

According to his obituary (thanks Cambridge Public Library), he was a manufacturer and wholesale dealer of mattresses and curled hair, and further, “He has always been rich.”

Sources: Jones River Village Historical Society Collection MC29 and Lantern Slides IC4; Mass. Historical Commission MACRIS Digital Photographs IC13

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com

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New Old Business: Kingston Wants You!

There’s a lot of talk about Kingston’s business community these days, so here’s a look at efforts 50 years back to bring new business to town.

Published in 1965 by the Industrial Development Commission, this colorful pamphlet lays out the advantages of mid-20th century Kingston: a strategic historic location, efficient town government, fine schools, a well informed public, and more!

Kingston Public Library, Local History Room

Here’s the pdf version of Kingston’s Just Right for Your Plant Site.

Source: Town of Kingston Annual and Miscellaneous Publications TOK3

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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