Sunday, July 31, 2011


The Cape Cod Canal, the widest artificial waterway in the world, was opened in 1914. It’s a surprise to many that a canal almost came through Randolph, Avon, Brockton, Bridgewater, Raynham and Taunton rather than Sandwich and Bourne.
In the early years of the 20th century “The New York, Brockton and Boston Canal” proposed waterways as a transportation necessity throughout the country. Not a casual intent but a researched plan with topographical photographs, trade tables, cost tables and shipping tables – a serious scientific study.

The canal cut would have been 102,000 feet long, 200 feet wide and 26 feet deep with a 250 foot right of way on each side of the bank. It would include 14 locks and 15 highway and five railroad bridges with 100 foot clearances.

Enter Judge Lloyd E. Chamberlain of Brockton, Massachusetts – Judge of Probate for Plymouth County, President, Massachusetts State Board of Trade. Brockton Board of Trade and Vice President of the National Inland Waterways Commission. Judge Chamberlain was an ardent proponent of the Brockton Canal proposal. Returning from a 1909 convention of the Atlantic Deeper Waterways Association of Virginia, Judge Chamberlain said: “I returned more deeply impressed than ever before with the merit of what is today known as the ‘Brockton Canal.’ . . . “it is of sufficient importance for the president of the United States to give his thought and presence.”

Costs? $57,618,358 - while The Cape Cod Canal was projected as $10,000,000. The Brockton Canal never happened.

Friday, July 29, 2011


This is a shameless plug for an organization I have been active in for more than 35 years – Daughters of the American Revolution. As I reread what I wrote back in the 90s I note that all still applies, and the growth of the organization into the computer age has been both rewarding and phenomenal.


In this beloved organization I find all the things that touch my heart in the myriad opportunities for service in state and chapter organizations. Here I truly find and can recognize, the soul deep patriotism and love of country that is an innate part of me. Here I can share these feelings with kindred souls.

I have been privileged. The people and life styles of our American War for Independence have had a pull upon me for most of my life. This pull has translated into extensive research and into my becoming a reenactor and historical interpreter. In this alternate role I join many other Daughters who have chosen to portray accurately the events of our country’s past. I have learned the lifestyles and skills of our ancestors and have been able to advance that knowledge of domestic and military activity and impart it to young and old alike. This interest and study has encompassed areas of heritage, traditions and skills. This has been a personal commitment.

And what better venues for transmitting this love of country and knowledge and pride in our forebears than in the multiplicity of opportunities for communication as a Daughter?

Communication - all the research and knowledge in the world is worthless unless it is shared. Thus as Daughters we share our heritage, and keep alive the sacrifices of the past. This 18th century woman, (indeed that is exactly what I call myself), has taken advantage of the communication possibilities of the present and the future. In my studio, next to my spinning wheel, needlework tools, flax, raw wool and silk, are a computer, a scanner, and a fax machine. These are my tools of communication and have made connections with Daughters, and those who would be Daughters, across this vast nation.

Although loyalty and devotion goes first to our chapters and state societies, in reality today’s Daughters of the American Revolution are not confined to boundaries of time nor space. What a wonder to pass along information and possibilities without constraint. What a wonder to learn of those things to which Chapters and Daughters all over the world have devoted time,talent, and money, and to share their pride in their accomplishments. What a wonder to feel that they are not strangers, but friends that we have yet to meet.

Yes, I am also a Daughter of the present and for the future. In working with young people and children I see the light of understanding and caring in their young eyes. I see the hope for tomorrow and the promise of the future. As we make small sacrifices for those veterans whose sacrifices are often unimaginable, I am witness to a love of country beyond all personal considerations - I am humbled.

Each year, as the flag unfurls over Continental Congress; we stand with hands over our hearts and moist eyes uplifted. In this single moment we seem to achieve a renewal of faith and the courage to continue the work and the devotion that is DAR. In these beautiful buildings is a legacy for the future and I can truthfully and pridefully say that I have been and will be a part of this continuum, as will my daughters, and if God wills, their daughters and granddaughters as well.

I am blessed, I am a Patriot and I am a Daughter.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

QUILL: of Quills and Quilling and Other Definitions

An obvious and common definition is the feather of a large bird, often a goose or turkey, formed into a pen by pointing and slitting the lower end of the barrel.

A plectrum formed of a feather for plucking the strings of a musical instrument; in instruments of the harpsichord type, a piece of crow quill set on a jack and put into motion by the keys.

A float of a fishing line made of a quill,

A convenient way to pick the teeth.

Threads wound on a quill, ready for the weaver.

To form small, cylindrical plaits or folds, to goffer thus using papers or fabrics, or ribbons or lace. Would you like to quill a ruffle for your cap? You do wear one, do you not? Lacking many quills I offer a modern day substitute - just smooth out your fabric strip while wet, place a series of plastic drinking straws over and under the strip and let it dry.

Following the Satucket Path through Abington, Massachusetts

Several years ago, plans were started to note points of historic interest in Massachusetts towns. One of those "tours" was the work of a long-time Abington resident Dorothy (Mrs. Kenneth) Taylor.
1. As you enter Abington from the North on Route 58, you are following the route of the old Satucket Path , an Indian Trail that connected Weymouth with East Bridgewater. Just over the town line in Abington is the "Heape of Stones" whose plaque reads:"The Heape of Stones marks the oldest jurisdictional line in the country erected in 1664 "to mark the crossing of the line between Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony at the Satucket Indian Path."
2. Continuing south on Route 58, turn left at Harrison Avenue and continue to the end. On the left is Arnold Park with a boulder commemorating the Abington Riot of August 16, 1893. The riot occurred when the railroad tried to stop the street car company from laying tracks across the railroad right of way, in spite of a court order permitting this. The Massachusetts Supreme Court later ruled in favor of the street car company and set a country-wide precedent when it jailed the railroad officials involved in the riot. As a peace offering to the town, the railroad built the North Abington Station, designed by the famous architect H.H. Richardson. The station, a National Historic Landmark now being used as a restaurant stands opposite Harrison Avenue and Arnold Park.
3. Returning to Route 58, continue south to take the right fork at the North School as you continue along the Satucket Path. On reaching Central Street, approximately a mile from the fork inthe road, turn left and watch on your left for the entrance to Mt. Vernon Cemetery. Halfway into the cemetery on the left are the graves of both Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers and at the far end of the cemetery are some of the oldest graves in Abington.
4. Retrace your way back to Central Street and look to your left. You will see the railroad bridge which was also part of the railroad's peace offering. Prior to the street being lowered for the bridge, this had been a very dangerous intersection.
5. Now turn to your right on Central Street and return to the old Satucket Path (now known as Washington Street). Turn left and take your next left which is Wilson Place. This will take you to Island Grove Pond. You may park along the street here and walk over the bridge to admire the Memorial Arch built in 1912 to honor those who fought in the Civil War. Continuing into the grove area, to your right you will find a boulder marking the site of many Abolitionist Meetings whose speakers included William Lloyd Garrison.
6. Retrieving your car, follow the pond south to Centre Ave (Route 123). Turn right and just a few doors further on, on your right you will see the Dyer Memorial Library. This building was erected in 1935 and is both museum and library perpetuating the history of Old Abington which originally covered the areas now known as Whitman and Rockland. Miss Marietta Dyer (1853-1918), last living heir of her uncle's importing fortune, establlished the Dyer Trust Fund in her will for the purpose of constructing this building to house a library and historical exhibits.
7. Leaving the Dyer Library, turn left at the lights to regain the Satucket Path and continue straight through the second set of lights to the intersection with Route 18. Here, in front of the church, is a plaque marking both the Satucket Path and the New Bedford Toll Road which you have just joined.
8. You continue south on Route 18 (the Ols Toll Road and Indian Trail), there is a plaque at Route 18 Auto Body marking the site of the first meeting house in Abington.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Education - in the 18thCentury

In the Library of Congress there are two volumes of school exercises. One dealing with mathematics exhibits a wide range with sureness, accuracy and clearness. Few college graduates today become so well trained in that subject. The problems in surveying show that at sixteen years of age this young man was fitted to earn his living in this field.

These books belonged to the young teen-aged George Washington.

The second book begins with legal forms such as every planter should know, some poetry, and "The Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation".
In the latter those maxims had their origin in France. Later in England additions were made concerning dining.

No, I won't list all 110, but here's a taste of the manners important at that time.
#6- Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others Stand, Speak not when you should hold your peace, Walk not when others stop.

#54 covers Vanity - Play not the peacock, looking everywhere about you, to See if you be well deck't, if your shoes fit well if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.

You know there are some that should be as important to us today as they were to Washington in the 18th century.
#56 Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you esteem your own Reputation, for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.
#109 Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull
#110 Labouur to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire called Conscience.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bits & Pieces from my files:

Thoughts and ideas - once and a while decisions and/or conclusions come our way. The following from my files is just one of those subjects - as always open to further discussion. I do welcome any discussion and only ask that it be first referred to me. Today's Bit to Talk-A-Bout concerns the Woodland Indian .

Well before the arival of the Mayflower, the Woodland Indians had fallen upon hard times - their creative thrust had been blunted by centuries of bloody warfare and then, in 1616 - the great plague. Many tribes with scarcely enough living to bury their dead were vulnerable to their old enemies. The New England tribes were on their way to self-destruction.

In 1888 the following statement was made concerning the Pawtuckets. "The plague completed the ruin of this nation. The nature of this disease is doubtful - it began near Saco and swept down to Naraganset Bay but not beyond. Richard Vines, a physician, passed the winter of 1616 among the victims - he and his men even slept in the cabins of the sick, but not a white man was affected. The skin of the victims was of a deep yellow, both before and after death, still it seems the disease was not yellow fever and it was not the small pox".

The toll over the next 200 years was great, there was conflict among the tribes, and warfare against the settlers. In 1849 - a report presented to the legislature stated that there appears to be the remains of twelve tribes within the bounds of Massachusetts.They number only 847, including people of color connected with them. There were but six or eight of pure blood in Massachusetts.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Here I Am Again

It's been a while, I know. This old lady has been busy, and procrastinating, and not really sure what direction she wants to take. She finds herself deciding to take advantage of all the writing, research and odds and ends that she has been up to for too many decades and so - what's coming???

A potpouri of thought, opinion, search and research, starting tomorrow at the crack of dawn!

Well darn it all, why wait? Lets start with a recent try at something old and new at the same time - Once upon a time I painted - art, varying subjects in oils - (one of my sons says he can still smell the turp and linseed). On the premise that an old dog can be taught new tricks - tried pencil sketching.

My mother's art supplies included six nice graphite pencils and a sketch book with a very faint outline of a seascape with lighthouse she had planned to start - I accepted the challenge and completed just the lighthouse and I was hooked. Exercise #2 was a female face and #3 my daughter, a ballroom dancer.

I never had worked with pencil but I will continue a bit more and then try my luck with acrylics which I never thought could take the place of oils. A challenge - please wish me luck!

Stay tuned - tomorrow will be a completely different subject.