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.
As many of you know, the town is awaiting a new Harbormaster Patrol Boat, which is estimated to arrive around July 17th, and perhaps sooner. This purchase was authorized at this year’s special town meeting.
The Board of Selectmen have offered a “contest” to name the boat for the town. The person who submits the name chosen will be given a maiden voyage around Kingston Harbor on the boat, along with family and/or friends to the maximum allowed on the boat.
So, please submit your entries to me with a copy to Laurie, and pass along the info on this contest to others in your department, and/or in the town!
Here are some possibilities from the Local History Room. Submit your own to the Town Administrator’s office (see here for how to)
In the spring of 1898, noted Kingston ship-builder Edward A. Ransom launched the largest vessel constructed on the Jones River since 1874, the steamer Tiger. She was, in the words of Henry M. Jones, author of Ships of Kingston, “a handsome vessel” of 30 tons with an overall length of 53′, a beam of 14′ and a draft of 6′.
Here she is moored in front of Ransom’s boathouse, with the Bradford Homestead just up the hill. Ransom and his co-owners, A.J. Hill, C.A. Ransom and H.S. West,* used the Tiger for fishing and lobstering for several years, then sold her to the Churches of Tiverton, R.I., who used her as a porgy steamer.
* A handwritten annotation in the archivist’s copy of Ships of Kingston tells us that West was the father of Kingston Town Historian Margaret Warnsman.
Source: Ships of Kingston, Henry M. Jones (The Memorial Press of Plymouth, Massachusetts: 1926)
Two photos and a program — dated exactly one hundred years ago today — inaugurate the Pique of the Week, a blog by the Local History Room volunteers and staff. As we begin to put our Kingston photographs online, we will post things that stand out, answer a question, or like today’s picks, just catch our fancy. So what happened 100 year ago today? Old Home Day!
These late summer celebrations began in New Hampshire in 1899; other New England states and some Canadian towns quickly adopted the practice, which flourished into the early 1920’s. While the events might include parades, pageants and picnics, as well as sports, dances, bonfires and clambakes, a sense of nostalgia, shared history, and local pride always took center place.
Both photographs are actually postcards printed by D.T. Burrell in 1908, almost immediately after the events. The first shows Dr. Arthur Holmes ferrying at least 16 people to Delano’s Wharf, partially visible at left. On the other side, “Mama” wrote to Mrs. Lesler Ward in Dorchester, Mass. on Sept 11, 1908, “This is Dr. Holmes boat, you can see him standing up in it.”
In the second, we see Delano’s Wharf fromthe shore, with people gathered for the festivities, maybe watching the boat races or waiting for the traditional clambake to start. A sailboat pulls up to the Wharf and dories scoot around the Bay.
In Kingston, the 1908 celebration featured a parade that began with a bicycle brigade (cycling was still a new sport in 1908). It boasted 22 floats including a yacht under full sail contributed by the Kingston Yacht Club. The parade ended at the Town Green with refreshments for the children on the floats and a band concert. Later in the week, there were water sports, a yacht regatta, a clambake and a dance on Friday. Kingston’s Old Home Day celebrations continued through the 1930s and included a revival in 1996.
Sources: Vertical Files collection;The Encyclopedia of Local History, Carol Kammen and Norma Prendergast, Editors (AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA: 2000).