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Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lying Around Underground

Most residents of Stockbridge Cemetery in Massachusetts were buried with their feet pointing east.

Not so the Sedgwick family — patriarch Theodore Sedgwick ordered that his family’s graves form a circle with their feet toward the center. This way, on Judgment Day, Sedgwicks will see only other Sedgwicks. [Link]
I'm beginning to think someone should start a blog devoted entirely to families buried in circles.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

His 'Pickle' Needed Pepper and Salt

"Lord" Timothy Dexter of Massachusetts published his autobiographical A Pickle for the Knowing Ones; or Plain Truths in a Homespun Dress (presented here with "translation") in 1802.

He wrote about himself and complained about politicians, clergy and his wife. The book contained 8,847 words and 33,864 letters, but absolutely no punctuation, and capital letters were sprinkled about at random.
When people complained that it was hard to read, for the second edition he added an extra page - of punctuation marks - asking readers to "peper and solt it as thay plese". [Link]

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reuniters Reminisce, Regret Reservoir

Residents of the four towns drowned by the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts still get together to mourn their lost homes.

[F]or remaining natives of the four "lost towns," all now in their 70s or older, nostalgia blends with sorrow and occasional flashes of bitterness. They continue to gather at least once a month to reminisce, clinging tenaciously to the bonds their families forged in towns long since erased from the map.

Each native has a story: passing cemeteries as ancestors' bodies were moved, watching helplessly as grandparents cried in frustration, realizing the drinking water of strangers had been deemed more important than their families' roots.

"That was the only place we'd ever known," Bob Wilder, an Enfield native, said of the hardscrabble farming town his family left in 1938 when he was a boy. "I try not to get mad when I think about it anymore, but that was home. I can't really ever go home." [Link]

Friday, February 08, 2008

Bay State OKs Pilgrim Plates

A bill has passed the Massachusetts Legislature that would allow Dexter Olsson of Plymouth to use license plates that read "1620."

The 1620 plates were given to Olsson’s father, George Olsson, by then-Gov. John A. Volpe in the early 1960s.

The family traces its roots to the Pilgrims’ arrival on the Mayflower in 1620 and William Bradford, governor of the Plymouth Colony. Volpe gave the "vanity," or "low-number" plates as a thank-you to the elder Olsson, who was a longtime Plymouth clerk of courts, chairman of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., and a co-founder of Plimoth Plantation.

The license plate number remained with the family, becoming a symbol of the Olssons’ heritage and part of family lore, Dexter Olsson said. [Link]

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Drowned Towns

MetaFilter has a neat post about four towns in Massachusetts—Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott—swallowed up by the Quabbin Reservoir in 1938.

It's a longstanding piece of Massachusetts lore: When the Quabbin Reservoir is low, they say a church steeple rises from the water, a ghostly reminder of the towns submerged by the flooding of the Swift River Valley in 1939.
No offense, says Dale Monette, program coordinator at the Quabbin Visitors Center in Belchertown, but, "I guarantee he's never seen it." No structures of the four "lost" towns of the valley, all vacated and disincorporated in March 1938, were left standing, he confirmed on the day I visited. [Link]
One town up here in Maine—Flagstaff—met a similar fate. Here's a list of other drowned towns in the U.S.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Patriot on the Wrong Side of Town

William Dawes also took a midnight ride on April 18, 1775, but his name didn't rhyme with "Listen my children and you shall hear." Now it appears that the attention given the long-neglected patriot in recent years has been paid in the wrong ZIP code.

It looks like even the few dedicated tourists who've bothered to pay their respects to Dawes have been solemnly standing on the wrong side of town.

Though plaques and published guides place Dawes's remains alongside his relatives in the King's Chapel Burying Ground downtown, veteran tour guide Al Maze recently discovered evidence suggesting that Dawes's final resting place is in fact in the Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. [Link]

Friday, February 23, 2007

Is Nothing Sacred When Selling Soda?

A Dr Pepper promotion that involved finding a hidden coin worth $10,000 in Boston's 347-year-old Granary Burying Ground has been called off after city officials locked the gates to prevent contestants from entering.

Cadbury Schweppes PLC, which makes Dr Pepper, canceled the Boston portion of the 23-city coin hunt promotion yesterday after acknowledging it had stashed the coin, in a leather pouch, amid the remains of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and other historic figures. The coin is still missing.

"The coin is inside the park," Cadbury Schweppes spokesman Greg Artkop told the Globe. "We agree with the Park Department's decision to lock the gates. We wouldn't do anything to desecrate this cemetery." [Link]
... except hide a valuable prize inside and invite people to trample the graves of Boston's ancient dead—all to sell a few more cases of a beverage I wouldn't drink on a dare.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

They Want to Call It an Early Knight

Some in Westford, Massachusetts, believe that an expedition led by Scottish Prince Henry Sinclair visited their town in 1398. Their evidence? A stone on Depot Street that bears the image of a broken sword—supposed to signify that a knight in the party had died.

So is this the stuff of legend or of history? Some people in Westford are hoping science can help them find out. They've contacted a forensic geologist about testing to determine the age of the carvings.

"So we just hope they can date it and that will convince the non-believers that the knight actually did come here in 1400," said [Elizabeth] Lane. [Link]

Friday, January 05, 2007

Never Surrender a Stone-Ender

Anne "Pete" Baker is heading efforts to preserve what's left of the Waite-Potter House in Westport, Massachusetts—a stone-ender built in 1677 and mostly destroyed by Hurricane Carol in 1954. Only its unusual chimney remains standing.

Ms. Baker said the house is a prime example of a Rhode Island Stone-ender, one of few that "crept over the border." Thomas Waite came from Portsmouth, R.I., where he likely developed an interest in this unusual Rhode Island architecture.

"It's too bad there's not more of it there," Ms. Baker said of what remains. But at least the town can save the chimney.

"The main thing is to prevent it from falling further apart," Ms. Baker said. [Link]

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