Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TITANIC Memorial Dedication in Stoughton on April 15, 2012

The public is cordially invited on April 15, 2012 (at 2 p.m.) to attend

A Memorial Dedication of a Bronze Plaque
In memory of a forgotten Stoughton resident

who was victim of the R.M.S. TITANIC

George Quincy Clifford was a forty year old Stoughton resident and the President of the George E. Belcher Last Co.  He perished on his voyage back to Stoughton aboard the R.M.S. TITANIC on April 15, 1912.  George had been traveling in Europe since February 1912 securing contracts for the Belcher Last Co. in hopes to supply more work for Stoughton residents at that factory.  His body was never recovered.  

Location: Please join us 100 years to the day of the sinking of the TITANIC.  We will meet in Stoughton at 4 Capen Street (off Pleasant St. Rte. 139) where we will unveil a beautiful (18x14) Bronze plaque installed on the structure of the former Belcher Last Factory where he worked (now the Rose Forte Apartment building) in Stoughton.  This plaque was made possible by the generous donations of Stoughton citizens and Titanic historians.

We will be joined by some of his descendants who will be asked to unveil this memorial long overdue in the town of Stoughton.  At which time will also be a short memorial service at the unveiling to remember the passengers who died on the TITANIC, and to remember our local resident who perished a century this day.

The service will include words from the clergy of his former church in Brockton; a brief historical sketch of his life by Stoughton historian David Allen Lambert; remarks by invited guests; and the singing of the Mariners Hymn – For Those in Peril on the Sea (the last hymn sung aboard the TITANIC at church services held the morning of April 14, 1912).

After the memorial dedication please attend a reception and open house at the Stoughton Historical Society immediately following at 6 Park Street (corner of Pleasant and Park).

Any questions please contact David Allen Lambert at dalresearch@verizon.net

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The town of Stoughton has purchased historic Glen Echo Park.  This was opened as a park and recreation area in 1895, and had previously been York Pond, and before that home of the Punkapoag Indians.

Thrilled to be on page one of the Boston Globe South today.  If you have a subscription or pick up the Globe tell me what you think.  http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cemeteries of Norfolk County - Canton, Massachusetts

My neighbors to the north in Canton share a little history with my hometown of Stoughton.  Back in 1993 I went and transcribed all the pre-1797 gravestones in Canton.  This would represent burials that occurred in what is now Canton, when it was still Stoughton.

Have you ever driven by a cemetery and wondered about it?  So this week I will discuss the cemeteries in Norfolk County town by town in brief. This information is a brief outline from the second edition to my book A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries.  

I have added over 3,000 gravestones to Find-a-Grave most of which are in Norfolk County.  If you want to see the oldest gravestones from Sharon, Stoughton and Canton take a look at the inventory I have on my Find-a-Grave account.


Burr Lane Indian Cemetery site off Burr Lane.

Canton Corner Cemetery (1716) on Washington Street.

Chapman Street Indian Cemetery site, Chapman Street.

Gridley Cemetery Site (aka) Small Pox Cemetery Site (1764) on Kinsley Place, off Washington Street.  A great article about this cemetery written by my friend and fellow historian George Comeau can be seen online.

Knollwood Memorial Park (1898) 319 High Street.

Proprietors Cemetery (aka) Old English Cemetery (1742) across from 2018 Washington Street.

Punkapoag Village Indian Cemetery (17th century) in woods off Indian Lane.  Marked by a boulder with the incorrect date of "1650" as it should be 1657.   Should I mention the Canton town seal also has the incorrect date of 1650?  Well maybe on another blog.  I also have strong personal feelings that the Canton Historical Society should deed this cemetery back to the Tribal Council of the Punkapoag Indians, as this is their ancestral burying ground.

St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery (1847) Washington and Randolph Streets.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dedham's Majestic Towered Train Station now only a memory of a handful of commuters.

Once upon a time Dedham, Massachusetts there stood a majestic 19th century train station.  It was the second to last granite towered railroad station in Norfolk County.  The Dedham Railroad Station was built in 1883 and was designed by Sturgis & Brigham Architects.  Charles Brigham of that firm would later design the surviving towered train Station in Stoughton. 

This imposing station of granite and brownstone was abandoned at the height of the Great Depression in 1933, and sadly torn down in 1951.  Hopefully the now closed station in Stoughton  will not meet the same fate as its sister station in Dedham.

In the 1970's when renovations were being done at the Stoughton Station the late Freeman Fogg of Stoughton rescued three clock faces from the Stoughton tower.  One was at his property on Sumner Street, the other down the Cape.  The other is in my back shed!  As a historian you just never now when something might come in handy!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Train Stations of Norfolk County.

I must say I am spoiled having spent the better part of 19 years taking the Commuter Rail from Stoughton.  And most of the time I got to spend my mornings in the majestic 1888 granite tower train station.  There is so much history inside that lovely station.  But sadly for the past couple of years it has been boarded up.  Last year the Train canopy that protects the passengers has been repaired, the gaping holes are gone... and so are the pigeons.  Perhaps they have flown over to my fellow blogger Heather McGinley's roost down the street. 

Would love to hear some stories about the stations that are no longer.  I have only had the honor to go in Canton, Sharon and Stoughton stations.  Can anyone add something here... let's get on board shall we?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Girl Scouts of Norfolk County!

Today I had the honor to speak to a group of nearly 100 Girls Scouts from Stoughton, Massachusetts.  I told them how life was different for kids back in 1912 when Girls Scouts started out.  I told them a little about the local history of their town.  I was honored to watch all of them recite the Girl Scout Promise on today the 100th Anniversary of the creation of Girl Scouts of America.

I was also delighted to receive the above wrapped present.  Inside... you guessed it!  Girls Scout Cookies!!

Happy 100th Birthday Girl Scouts of Stoughton... Norfolk County.... Massachusetts... and around U.S.A.

Do you think the cookies are only 100 calories each??  :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Understanding the Slave Census of 1754 for Massachusetts

Many people think about genealogical research and assume the 1790 Census would be the first census for what is now Norfolk County, or the Direct Tax of 1771.

That actually is not the case at all.  The first census to list inhabitants did not list them by name, and did not even require a count of those under sixteen. This  This often under utilized historical census is on microfilm at the Massachusetts State Archives.  The following example for Stoughton does give names - however of the Board of Assessors of the town of Stoughton - not of the slaves from the community.  The sad fact is that most people you speak too will not even realize that slavery existed in the north.  Well before the Civil War New England had an active African and Native American slave population.  In Massachusetts it was active through the end of the American Revolutionary War.  This early census is not complete - taking into account it is only listing those who were over 16 years of age.  What about the children that were not counted?  How many were there?

If you are interested taking a look of a chapter of your local history take a look at this series the next time you are researching at the Massachusetts State Archives.

Here is a glimpse at Stoughton's 1754 Slave Census.

  Stoughton Ss
                                                            In Obediance to the Order of ye Great &
                                                            General Court of ye Nineteenth of November
                                                            Last, We have Taken An Exact Act of the
                                                            Negro Slaves Within ye Town of Stoughton
                                                            & find that there is Six Males & Two Females,
                                                            of Sixteen Years old and upward.

                                    Stoughton Janry                                       Elkanah Billing  ]
                                     ye 1st 1755                                  Wm Royall           ]     Assessors
                                                                                         Joseph Billing     ]
                                                                                         Daniel Richards  ]

Note: Though only eight slaves are listed above sixteen, there is no accounting of the slave children who obviously resided in Stoughton.

Source: Massachusetts Slave Census of 1754 [Stoughton, p. 97].