Object of the Month: March 2014 – Maud Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell Gorham Collection

In honor of Women’s History Month, March’s Object of the Month will focus on a photograph collection of former Hanson Historical Society member Maud(e) Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell Gorham. Our archives contain a wonderful small collection of photographs and tintypes of the family members and friends of Maud(e) Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell Gorham of Hanson (1891-1978), which have been digitized and are available on the Hanson Historical Society’s Flickr.

Early records list her name as Maud (including her birth and first marriage records), later records list her name as Maude (including her second marriage and death records). Maude was born and raised in Hanson; she married twice and had two children. The Hanson Historical Society also has another collection of the Maude Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell Gorham Family Papers, the majority of which is documentation regarding the death of her son Brandon Brewster Bodell, age 31, during World War II, including his Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals.

1. Maud(e) Gilbert Brewster was born in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 12 June 1891, daughter of Henry Gilbert and Florence Eveline (Tirrell) Brewster.[[1]] She died in Pembroke, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 22 September 1978.[[2]] She married first in Kingston, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 17 August 1911, by H. S. Kilborn, James Gray Bodell.[[3]] He was born in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27 June 1889, son of Franklin and Hannah (Gray) Bodell.[[4]] He died in Grafton State Hospital, Grafton, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1957.[[5]] From at least 10 April 1930 until 1935 he was a psychiatric patient at the Taunton State Hospital, Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts, and in 1940 until his death was a patient at the Grafton State Hospital.[[6]] At the time of their marriage, Maude Brewster was a clerk residing in Hanson and James Bodell was a conductor residing in Plymouth. In the 1914 Hanson directory, James G. Bodell was listed as a conductor for the Brockton and Plymouth Railway, boarding with his family in a house on Main Street near Pleasant Street in South Hanson.[7] They probably were divorced or separated by 5 June 1917, when James listed his marital status as “single” for his World War I Draft Registration and was residing in 18 Davis St., Plymouth, working as a cloth examiner at Standish Worsted Company in Plymouth, described as medium height, medium build, dark blue eyes, dark brown hair.

She married second, as his second wife, in Hanson, 21 July 1927, by John E. Berry, Hubert Aubrey Gorham.[[8]] He was born in East Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 31 October 1872, the son of Ephraim A. and Marietta (Rogers) Gorham.[[9]] He died of cancer in Hanson, 16 February 1940.[[10]] At the time of their marriage, Hubert was a cranberry grower, and Maud was a telephone operator, and both were listed as divorced from their former spouses. He married first in Hanson, 30 June 1898, by Ezra N. Smith, Annie T. Damon.[[11]] She was born in Hanson, 11 February 1874, the daughter of Elijah Damon and Phoebe S. Besse.[[12]] At the time of Hubert and Annie’s marriage, he was a laborer and she was a teacher. Annie was formerly a teacher at Primary Schoolhouse #4, now the  headquarters of the Hanson Historical Society [see the Hanson Historical Society’s Primary Schoolhouse #4 exhibit]. Hubert was initiated into the Phoenix Lodge of the Massachusetts Masons on 18 September 1919, and remained a member until his death.[13]

Maude G. Bodell (28, divorced) was enumerated 20 January 1920 in Hanson with her father, Henry G. Brewster (owns home, 59, farmer) and mother Florence E. Brewster (66), with children Brandon B. Bodell (6) and Gertude E. Bodell (4 years, 3 months) and uncle George W. Brewster (56, farm laborer).[[14]]

Maude G. Gorham (38) was enumerated 11 April 1930 in Main St., Hanson with husband Hubert A. Gorham (owns house, has $6,000 in real estate, 57, superintendant of a cranberry bog), and children Brandon Bodell (16) and Gertrude E. Bodell (14).[[15]]

Maude G. Gorham (48, widow, owned home worth $4000, high school graduate) was enumerated 18 April 1940 in Main St., South Hanson.[[16]]

Children of James Gray and Maude Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell, b. Hanson:

i.   Brandon Brewster Bodell, b. 11 Aug. 1913; d. near Metz, France, 29 Sept. 1944. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a surveyor prior to the war. He enlisted as a soldier for World War II in Boston on 19 March 1942. At the time of his enlistment, he was 72” tall and weighed 191 pounds. He was a first lieutenant, in 558th FA Bn, C Battery, army service no. 1170656. Gilbert Hahn reflected on Bodell’s death in The Notebook of an Amateur Politician: And how He Began the D.C. Subway: “We stayed outside of Metz for this forty-five day period. During that time, some of my pals, the other lieutenants in the battalion, took their guns for direct lay missions on the various forts around Metz. My friend Bryce Bowmar, in a heroic episode, fired into those forts at one thousand yards. (He is mentioned in Stephen Ambrose’s book Citizen Soldier.) My other friend who did the same thing, Brandon Bodell, was killed. The concept of the direct lay missions was not ideal, because with separate loading ammunition, a shell from a machine gun or mortar could explode the powder bag (that had to be kept at the gun), so it was highly dangerous”.

ii.   Gertrude E. Bodell, b. 21 Sept. 1915. She married several times and was a beautician.



[1] Maud Gilbert Brewster birth record (1891), 413:561, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915.
[2] Maude G. Gorham indexed death record (1978), Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003 (www.ancestry.com); Maude Gorham indexed death record (1978), Social Security Death Index.
[3] James G. Bodell and Maud G. Brewster marriage record (1911), 604:205, 604:213, 604:241, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915 (www.americanancestors.org).
[4] James Gray Bodell World War I Draft Registration Card (1917), World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (www.ancestry.com).
[5] James Bodell indexed death record (1957) 52:124, Massachusetts Death Index, 1901-1980 (www.ancestry.com).
[6] Taunton State Hospital, 1930 U.S. Census, Ward 8, Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, roll 894, page 8A; Grafton State Hospital, 1940 U.S. Census, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts, roll 1650, page 6B.
[7] 1914 Hanson Directory (www.ancestry.com), 136.
[8] 1927 Hanson Town Report.
[9] Male Gorham birth record (1872), 241:14, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915 (www.americanancestors.org).
[10] Hubert A. Gorham death record (1940), Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections, 1620-1988 (www.ancestry.com).
[11] Hubert A. Gorham and Annie T. Damon marriage record (1898), 479:565 and 479:589, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915 (www.americanancestors.org).
[12] Annie T. Damon birth record (1874), Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections, 1620-1988 (www.ancestry.com).
[13] Hubert Aubrey Gorham Mason Membership Card, Massachusetts: Grand Lodge of Masons Membership Cards, 1733-1990 (www.americanancestors.org).
[14] Henry G. Brewster household, 1920 U.S. Census, Hanson, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, roll 726, page 8A.
[15] Hubert A. Gorham household, 1930 U.S. Census, Hanson, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, roll 940, page 9B.
[16] Maude G. Gorham household, 1940 U.S. Census, Hanson, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, roll 1638, page 62A.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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Object of the Month: February 2014 – Pomp’s Orchard

To celebrate African American History month, February’s Object of the Month is a transcribed oral history detailing “Pomp’s Orchard”, the cottage and orchard of Pomp, a former slave of the House family. Pomp was an African American slave owned by the House family of Hanson, Hanover and Whitman (then part of Abington) in the late 18th century. He was a young man when slavery was ruled unconstitutional in Massachusetts in 1783. For a time he continued to live and work for various House family members, including the family of Samuel and Hannah (Cushing) House on King St. in Hanson (then a part of Pembroke). Pomp may have been the free person of color residing in the house of Samuel House of Pembroke (now Hanson) in the 1800 Census. By the 19th century, however, the bachelor Pomp had built a small cottage and cultivated a small farm and orchard “across the fields” from the Samuel House house, on a small dirt road which today is known as Glenwood Place.

Pomp’s orchard was remembered almost a century later as a very picturesque property. He built a small wooden cottage, dug a well for water, and on the surrounding quarter of an acre planted berries and fruit trees. He constructed a stone wall which encompassed the cottage and property, and had a gateway at the entrance of the property along the road. Pomp’s orchard was located along the dirt road which was informally called Jackass Place, in honor of the donkey of blacksmith Robert Thomas who lived at the end of the road and was Pomp’s neighbor. The road later was referred to as Josselyn Place, and today known as Glenwood Place.

In 1827, Pomp, went swimming and drowned in a “pond hole” opposite the road from the Nahum Stetson house on King St. (present-day 305 King St.), which may have been the mill pond, known today as Factory Pond. He was buried on the property of the Samuel House family on King Street. It is probable that this burial site was not marked with a gravestone. Its exact location today is unknown, in part because the Samuel House property was subdivided into several lots throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. However, it is probably located near 274 King St.

Shortly after Pomp’s death, Hanson resident Thomas Pratt purchased a house formerly owned by Benjamin White on King Street in 1834, that “stood on the hill just south of the former home of Samuel House on King Street”. Thomas Pratt “had it moved across the fields” to Glenwood Place and placed it by or on Pomp’s orchard, probably in part because Pomp had already cleared and cultivated the land there. Pratt’s house today still stands, as 104 Glenwood Place. In later years, Thomas Pratt shared the story of Pomp and his orchard to his grandson, Lucius W. Arnold, who in the 20th century told Pomp’s story to Hanson historian Joseph B. White for White’s book History of Houses in Hanson, Mass.

Joseph B. White, History of Houses in Hanson, Mass. (1932), Plan No. 3, Site No. L, Pomp’s Orchard. From the collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Joseph B. White, History of Houses in Hanson, Mass. (1932), Plan No. 3, Site No. L, Pomp’s Orchard. From the collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

In Joseph B. White’s History of Houses in Hanson, Mass. (1932), Lucius Arnold reported to Joseph B. White “Between the L. P. Bergin place No. 50 Plan No. 3 and the Caleb Arnold place No. 51 Plan No. 3 [on Glenwood Place] was a quarter acres of land all walled in with a gateway as entrance. Inside the wall was a small cottage and a large variety of fruit, berries, etc. and a well. This plot was occupied and cultivated by an old colored man, formerly a slave in the old James House [sic, Samuel House] family on King Street. He was never married, but gave his whole time in the care of his little farm and cottage. In 1827, he was drowned in a pond hole opposite the Nahum Stetson place on King Street, and was buried on the James House farm [sic, Samuel House farm]”.

Samuel House property on King Street in 1830, where Pomp was buried in 1827. He may have drowned in the Mill Pond (today called Factory Pond). From 1830 Map of Hanson, Mass. Original map located at Plymouth County Registry of Deeds. Photograph courtesy of Donald Blauss.

Samuel House property on King Street in 1830, where Pomp was buried in 1827. He may have drowned in the Mill Pond (today called Factory Pond). Pomp’s orchard was not marked on the 1830 map.
From 1830 Map of Hanson, Mass. Original map located at Plymouth County Registry of Deeds. Photograph courtesy of Donald Blauss.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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Object of the Month: January 2014 – Barnabas Everson’s Safe

Barnabas Everson Safe. From the artifact collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Barnabas Everson Safe. From the artifact collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

In honor of former Hanson resident Barnabas Everson’s 189th birthday this month, January’s object of the month is a very heavy artifact from our collection which he possessed. Near the entrance to the Hanson Historical Society sits the very large and sturdy safe which belonged to Barnabas Everson in the late 19th century. The front of the safe is personalized with his name, along with a painted pastoral scene, and the following text:

B. Everson

Mosler Safe & Lock Co.

Cincinnatti, O.

Mosler, Gowen & Co., 192 Devonshire St., Boston

The Mosler Safe Company manufactured security equipment, including safes, beginning in 1867. They quickly became internationally known for their high-quality production and strength. The company declared bankruptcy in 2001. Barnabas purchased the safe from a Boston dealer who sold Mosler safes, sometime between the start of their production in 1867, but before Barnabas’s death in 1896. But why did he need such a substantial safe?

In 1888, Barnabas Everson was valued as the 7th wealthiest man in the town of Hanson, and one of Twenty Thousand Rich New Englanders. His assessed value was about $7,700, which would be a value of almost $200,000 today. The sixth wealthiest men in Hanson at the time, in order of wealth, were Joseph White, Elijah C. Thomas, Foster Mills, Nathaniel W. Cushing, Andrew Bowker, and Caleb Barker.

How did Barnabas gain his wealth?

He was born at Hanson on 4 January 1825, the son of Richard Everson (1791-1868), a shoemaker and veteran of the War of 1812, and Mercy Munroe (1794-1880), who lived in a house on the north shore of Maquan Pond. In 1848, he married the widowed Deborah (Bates) Howland (1819-1892). After their marriage, they bought a large farm on Indian Head Street, and they rented out her house on the western shore of Maquan Pond along Indian Head Street. This sparked an interest in real estate, and Barnabas soon began purchasing and selling numerous properties in South Hanson throughout the 19th century. He was also a man of many talents and business interests. According to Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts, “Barnabas Everson attended the district schools of Hanson until he was sixteen years of age. He then learned the mason’s trade, which he followed for a number of years, later learning shoemaking and following it for a few years. Buying a large farm of about three hundred acres, he did an extensive business in market gardening, sending his products to Abington and Brockton. While conducting his farm he built a large sawmill, which was supplied by lumber from his own land. He cut box boards and manufactured shingles, etc. for a number of years, finally selling the mill to the late John Foster. He continued to conduct the farm up to the time of his death, and was always active, and well known throughout Plymouth county. He was a selectman of Hanson for a number of years, and also served as a road surveyor. In politics he was a Republican. Mr. Everson attended the Baptist Church for many years, but the last few years of his life he embraced Spiritualism”. Everson’s sawmill was located across the road from the South Hanson railroad depot. For additional details about Spiritualism in Hanson, see Mary Blauss Edwards’ article “Hanson’s Clairvoyant Physician: Abbie O. Whitmarsh (1829-1921) in Fall 2013’s Tunk.

Although the original donation record for the safe cannot be located, it was probably donated by Hanson teacher and widow Grace Elizabeth (Hanson) McClellan (1886-1969), who was an original founder of the Hanson Historical Society and the wife of Roderic Cameron McClellan (1882-1962), who was the grandson of Barnabas Everson.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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Object of the Month: December 2013 – Derailed Snow Plow Trolley

December’s Object of the Month is a photograph of a derailed Brockton and Plymouth Street Railway trolley that was plowing snow off the railroad tracks after a winter snowstorm. The photograph is undated, but was probably taken in the early 20th century, since the Brockton and Plymouth Street Railway was organized in 1900 and reorganized as the Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway Company in 1922. The view looks east towards Bryantville Center, in front of a house on Main Street by the Pembroke town line, later owned by Fred Snow.

Mildred Keene donated the photograph to the Hanson Historical Society on May 28, 1965.

Derailed snow plow trolley at Bryantville, ca. 1907. From the photograph collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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Object of the Month: November 2013 – Gad Hitchcock Cradle

This summer, the Hanson Historical Society received a wonderful donation from the Hanover Historical Society: the Gad Hitchcock Jr. cradle, possibly built ca. 1749, made of cherry wood. The cradle belonged to the Pembroke Congregational minister Rev. Gad Hitchcock and his wife, Dorothy Angier.  The cradle was used by their only child, Dr. Gad Hitchcock, who was born at Pembroke (now Hanson), in November 1749. His birth record reads in the original Pembroke town clerk’s records:

“Gad Hitchcock[,] the son of the Revd Mr Hitchcock & Dory Dorothy his wife was [born] November the second anno Domini 1749 old stile” [Julian calendar]. In the “new style” Gregorian calendar, his birthdate was November 13, 1749.

Gad was probably born in the Pembroke West Parish parsonage which Rev. Gad and Dorothy Hitchcock had moved into in the autumn of the previous year when Rev. Hitchcock was called to serve the Hanson community as their minister. The parsonage still stands today, at 909 High St. in Hanson, and is currently occupied by the Hanson Insurance Agency. The cradle remained in the house for several generations of Hitchcock descendants.

Dr. Gad Hitchcock Jr. Cradle, built ca. 1749. From the artifact collection of the Hanson Historical Society. Photograph courtesy of Patty Norton.

Dr. Gad Hitchcock Jr. Cradle, built ca. 1749, material: cherry wood. From the artifact collection of the Hanson Historical Society. Photograph courtesy of Patty Norton.

Gad Hitchcock Jr. birth record, 2 November 1749, “Old Style”. Pembroke [now Hanson], Mass. Scanned image of original Pembroke Town Clerk’s records, available courtesy of Ancestry.com.

Postcard of the Rev. Gad Hitchcock House, High St. Courtesy of the Hanson Historical Society Collection.

Gad Hitchcock Jr. grew up in the parsonage. He attended Harvard University, and after his graduation in 1765 became a doctor. He served as a surgeon’s mate in the Revolutionary War, and provided many years of service to the Hanson community as the town’s physician.

Portrait of Dr. Gad Hitchcock (1749-1835). Image courtesy of Dwight Whitney Marsh, The Genealogy of the Hitchcock Family, p. 432.

Portrait of Dr. Gad Hitchcock (1749-1835). Image courtesy of Dwight Whitney Marsh, The Genealogy of the Hitchcock Family, p. 432.

The Hitchcock cradle was originally donated to the Hanover Historical Society by Catharine Tilden Phillips. For additional details, see the Hanson Express article from 20 June 2013 about the society receiving the donation.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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Object of the Month: October 2013 – Burrage Fire Truck

Each year during the month of October, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is commemorated by National Fire Prevention Week. Join us in taking a look into the history of Hanson’s firefighting past.

Below is an undated photograph of of the Hanson Hose No. 2 horse-drawn fire wagon taken by the South Hanson Fire Station on Main St. The two horses (named Fred and Dick) pulling the fire wagon were owned by John Ibbitson. The fireman in this photo from left to right are: Charles Burnell, Arthur Brown, Fred Brown, Sumner Josselyn, James Lowery (in the driver’s seat) and Norman MacKenzie (in the passenger seat).

Hanson Fire Hose No. 2 Fire Wagon.  From the photograph collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Below is a photograph taken in 1910 of the first fire engine from Hose Company No. 3 in the South Hanson neighborhood of Burrage. It was one of the first fire trucks in the state of Massachusetts used to fight forest fires, which could be spotted from afar atop the fire observation tower on Bonney Hill. The firefighters from left to right were: Joseph Dowler, John Jewl, Charles Raby, John Thompson, and James Apply at the wheel.

The Hanson Fire Observation Tower, located on Bonney Hill off of High St. was built out of steel and was forty feet high with a room at the top measuring 10×10 feet, built out of wood and glass. The fire warden would sit in the room, equipped with a map of the area and a powerful set of binoculars, and make telephone calls to nearby fire stations if smoke was spotted in the nearby forest and countryside, which could be viewed for a radius of 15-20 miles. Hanson, Hanover, Marshfield, Pembroke, Duxbury, Plympton, Halifax and Whitman all contributed money for its construction. According to History of the Town of Hanson, in 1913, Cushing Thomas was in charge of the tower, and was on duty Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays which were deemed the most dangerous times for fires to occur. During WWII the tower was used to observe passing planes in addition to forest fires.

Hanson Observation Tower, 1913, From History of the Town of Hanson

Hanson Observation Tower, 1913, From History of the Town of Hanson

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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Object of the Month: September 2013 – Back to (Grammar) School

As we welcome the start of a new school year, September’s Object of the Month are images from our photograph collection of the “Old” and “New” South Grammar School of South Hanson.

The “Old” South Grammar School was built by Edward Pendleton in 1881, at present-day 782 Main St. in South Hanson. During the 1905-1906 school season, Grace Wade was the teacher of the Old South Grammar School and gave each pupil a calendar Christmas 1905. One of her students, 10 year old Abbie Louise Monroe (b. at Hanson, 2 April 1895, daughter of Walter Monroe and Lydia Chamberlain), kept her calendar, which was inherited by Beatrice Monroe and later donated to the Hanson Historical Society on 1 May 1980. 

A school calendar with a photograph of the “Old” South Grammar School, South Hanson, Mass. A Christmas gift from teacher Grace Wade to her pupils for Christmas of 1905, this copy was given to student Abbie Monroe and later donated to the Hanson Historical Society in 1980. From the photograph collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Due to overcrowding, the town decided to build a larger grammar school on the same site, so therefore in 1907, the “Old” South Grammar School was moved to Reed St., on land which was donated by the Hanson Manufacturing Co. and it became Primary No. 7 to take care of the children of Burrage employees from Grades 1-5.  The “Old” South Grammar School building on Reed St. served as Primary No. 7 School from 1907-1927. With the “Old” South Grammar School moved to Reed St., construction began on a larger school built on the same site on Main St. The “New” South Grammar School opened September 1908. The “New” South Grammar School operated from 1908-1940. In 1939, the Hanson school system underwent a major restructuring and it was voted to sell the “New” South Grammar School. The school building and property was then sold to the Hanson Grange Patrons of Husbandry #209 for $1.00 on May 12, 1941.

New South Grammar School, Hanson, Mass. Circa 1910. Postcard Published by Geo. Edward Lewis, Bryantville, Mass. From the photograph collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Undated photograph of the Hanson Grange [782 Main St., South Hanson], formerly the New South Grammar School. From the photograph collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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Object of the Month: August 2013 – A Day At The Beach

With the hot days of summer upon us, August’s Object of the Month is a tintype taken at Nantasket Beach of an unidentified man and two women from the photograph collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

This tintype unfortunately has no caption identifying the members of the group or providing a date the image was taken. However, the photographer is identified as: “Moloney, Photographer, 22 Hanover Street, Boston, Mass.” with a stamp stating “Nantasket Beach”.

Moloney was J.M. Moloney of South Boston. He posted the following advertisement in Illustrated History of South Boston (South Boston, Mass.: Inquirer Publishing Co., 1900), available at Archive.org, in which he states he has been a photographer for 20 years, since 1880:


Although the photo is undated, this helps at least provides a start date of 1880. But another clue helps pinpoint the date. A tintype listed in the Wikimedia Commons, taken in 1900 at Nantasket Beach by competitor Pease’s Nantasket Tintype Gallery is shown with the same paper wrapper and similar background:

Tintype portrait in a paper mat of a two men and three women taken at Pease’s Nantasket Tintype Gallery, circa 1900. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, digitized by http://gawainweaver.com/

Therefore it is possible that the tintype held by the Hanson Historical Society is also similarly dated close to the year 1900.

Tintypes could be produced several minutes after the image was taken, which made them very popular at fairs, and other public gatherings. Nantasket Beach in Hull, Mass. had been an attractive destination throughout the 19th century, as hotels and restaurants were built up along the beach, and enterprising photographers set up shops along the beach to capture happy visitors out for a day at the beach.

Nantasket Beach, c. 1910. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The area became even more popular after the establishment of  the amusement park Paragon Park, which opened in 1905 and closed in 1985.

Paragon Park, Nantasket Beach, Hull, Mass. c. 1920. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Can you identify any of these Hansonians out for a day at the beach?


[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]


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Object of the Month: July 2013 – Theodore Lyman Bonney Civil War Photograph

In honor of this patriotic month, July’s Object of the Month is a photograph of one of the twenty Hanson soldiers who gave their lives in the service of the U.S. Army during the Civil War: Theodore Lyman Bonney.

Theodore Lyman Bonney

Theodore Lyman Bonney (27 Oct. 1836, Taunton, Mass. – 11 May 1863, Aquia Creek, Va.)

Theodore Lyman Bonney was born at Taunton, Mass., 27 Oct. 1836, the son of Ezekiel and Angeline Dean (White) Bonney.  According to Elsie Calder’s Looking Back, he was “taken to Hanson when a young boy where his youth passed in the usual manner of boys upon a farm and in a district school”. Prior to the Civil War, he worked as an iron molder, and he participated in a Hanson debate club, details of which can be read about here. He enlisted for a three-month service in the Civil War as a sergeant in Company A of the 3rd Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry on 23 April 1861 and was discharged on 22 July 1861 when his term expired, and therefore was referred to as one of the Massachusetts “Minute Men of 1861” who responded to President Lincoln’s first call for Union soldiers in April 1861.

He re-enlisted 2 December 1861 as a sergeant for a three-year service in the Civil War in Company E of the 32nd Regiment. He died of typhoid fever at Aquia Creek, Virginia on 11 May 1863 at the age of 26.T.L. Bonney’s military records kept by the town of Hanson can be seen here.

History of the Town of Hanson includes the following biography of Theodore: T.L. Bonney “was named a member of the Halifax Light Infantry Company prior to the war. While in the Halifax Company, he passed through the ranks and on July 9, 1860, he was commissioned 3rd Lieutenant. On April 16, 1861, the 3rd Mass. Regiment was called into service and the Halifax Company left with it as Co. A. The U.S. service not recognizing 3rd and 4th lieutenants, Bonney chose to stay in and was given the rank of sargent, in which capacity he served until he was mustered out in July. Anxious to do more for the defense of his country, he re-enlisted in December of 1861, for three years, and became sargent in Company E of the First Mass. Infantry Battalion and saw service guarding rebel prisoners at Fort Warren. In May of 1862 he was promoted to Orderly Sargent and transferred to Company C, the battalion becoming the 32nd Mass. Regiment. The regiment joined the Army of the Potomac in July and Bonney saw service with the regiment in the Peninsular campaign, escaped the second battle of Bull Run and on reaching Frederick, Maryland was exhausted by a continued march of more than two weeks, he was sent back to a hospital in Washington. He later rejoined his regiment and took part in the Battle of Fredericksburg in which the regiment was exposed, without shelter, to the rebel fire for thirty hours. From Fredericksburg the regiment returned to Falmouth and spent the winter, with much suffering, in picket duty and reconnoitering. On the 27th of April the regiment moved forward to Chancellorsville where after several day of fighting they were forced again to cross the Rappahannock. It was during this retreat that Sargent Bonney, overcome by exposure and fatigue, sank by the way and was taken to a field hospital at Acquia Creek. After a short week of delirious fever he passed away on the 11th day of May, 1863.”

T.L. Bonney was buried at Potomac Creek Station in Virginia. In June 1863, Theodore’s commander Captain Steven Rich notified his brother, Otis L. Bonney, of Theodore’s activities until his time of death, and the location of his grave. Otis then arranged for Theodore’s remains to be disinterred and brought to Hanson via train, where he was buried in Fern Hill Cemetery.

Gravestone of Theodore Lyman Bonney, Fern Hill Cemetery, Hanson, MA. Courtesy of FindAGrave volunteer Toni Arsenault.

Theodore had a lasting legacy: Hanson Post 127 of the Grand Army of the Republic and Woman’s Relief Corps No. 146 each named their local chapters in his honor (the organizational papers of both of these chapters are held by the Hanson Historical Society).


[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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Object of the Month: June 2013 – Elsie Calder’s History of the #4 Primary Schoolhouse

To celebrate the start of summer – and end of the school year – June’s Object of the Month is Elsie Calder’s History of the #4 Primary Schoolhouse from the manuscript collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Former Hanson Historical Society secretary Elsie Gertrude Calder (1895-1991) compiled a booklet which detailed the history of the current home of the Hanson Historical Society: The #4 Primary Schoolhouse (formerly the #7 Primary Schoolhouse).

Primary Schoolhouse #7 was built in 1845 on Elm Street in Hanson. In 1867, it was moved to Main Street, just north of Elm St. and renamed Primary Schoolhouse #4. In 1939, it was moved to the east side of the L.Z. Thomas School on Main Street where it is currently the headquarters of the Hanson Historical Society. Read about HHS’s acquisition of the schoolhouse here.

#4 Primary School House, headquarters of the Hanson Historical Society, 565 Main Street, Hanson, MA. Photo courtesy of Mary Blauss Edwards.

#4 Primary School House, headquarters of the Hanson Historical Society, 565 Main Street, Hanson, MA. Photo courtesy of Mary Blauss Edwards.

Click here to view the full manuscript:

Elsie Calder's History of the #4 Primary Schoolhouse in Hanson, MA

Elsie Calder’s History of the #4 Primary Schoolhouse in Hanson, MA

The following is a transcription of the document:

History of Schoolhouse #4 (originally Schoolhouse #7) Booklet

Written by Elsie Calder

[The first several pages are a list of the Primary School#7/#4 teachers, the Hanson school committee, and the Hanson school superintendant from the years 1845-1961. See our exhibit From the Archives: The Teachers of Primary School #4/#7 (1845-1960) for more details]

Special High Lights

1871. Mention of “Beals Hill” is made in the location of schools

1873. Perfect Attendance at #4: Albert Josselyn, Austin Josselyn, and Linnie Josselyn [children of Benjamin and Lucy A. Josselyn],  Crissie Josselyn and Everett Josselyn [children of David A. Josselyn and Sophronia F. Dean, and siblings to Clara F. Josselyn, the Schoolhouse #4 teacher in 1873], George Thomas [son of Elihu Thomas], Clarence Augustus Ford [son of Noah A. and Ellen J. Ford].

1881. A diphtheria scare kept more than ½ the children at home during the second term

1883. Roll of honor at #4: Josie Chamberlain, Tom Chamberlain, Frank Keene, Harry Keene, Clarence Livermore, Stella Pratt, Marion Spencer

1884. Regular music instruction is included in the school studies and the singing hour is awaited with eager and longing anticipation under the direction of Mary F. Perry

1885. Mrs. Edward Churchill becomes the music instructor as Miss Perry resigned.

1890. An evening school is opened at South Grammar School with 25 young men and women in attendance. It was in session 13 evenings but during the bad weather so many dropped out that it was deemed advisable to discontinue.

1892. A strip of land 2 rods or more in width were purchased on the easterly side to enlarge the play ground area at #4 school ($50).

1893. The town now pays tuition to Whitman High School

1897. $150 was appropriated to dig a well at the North Grammar and at #4. Due to the large amount of rain fall, the well at #4 was not dug.

1905. Voted to place water in #4 and be paid from the Contigent Fund.

1914. The District Police orders all doors on school buildings to swing outward and supplied with Yale locks or locks which cannot be locked from inside.

1921. A new floor is laid at #4 and oiled.

1922. #4 is painted on the outside.

1923. #4 is reseated with individual seats and desks.

1924. The town votes to sell one-room school houses and lots that were to be replaced by the new 4-room school building on the North Grammar School lot. The property was sold at public auction on July 5, 1924 by C. O. Davis, auctioneer.

#6 house and lot to Nettie L. Keene, $1,050.00

#1 house & lot to Edgar C. Smith, $650.00

#2 house only to Albert H. Hall, $295.00

#5 house only to Nettie L. Keene, $235.00

North Grammar School house only to Elmira Ladouscour, $235.00

Paid C. O. Davis (auctioneer, commission and expenses) $178.17.

1929. #3 and #4 school houses have been closed. Grace E. McClellan is transferred to the South Grammar as Grade 2 teacher. Mary Rowell has Grade I.

1932. #4 is re-opened in September for a 4th grade.

1937. The enrollment at the Special Class has become less than the ten required by the statue and the school has been closed

1939. #4 is moved and annexed to the L.Z. Thomas School to provide a classroom for Grade 4.

1951. With the opening of Indian Head School on Sept. 10th it was possible to eliminate the use of the two portable buildings at both the Washington St. School and L.Z. Thomas.

1953. L.Z. Thomas portable reconditioned, floor sanded, walls painted to take care of the crowded conditions

1954. The Department of Public Safety gives only temporary approval of our portable building and Mr. Bradley say we should be getting out of the portable buildings.

1960. The Department of Public Safety inspector reports that he can no longer approve our two portable buildings. When assured that we were to move out of them early in 1961 and that the School Committee had voted to release them back to the Selectman for removal from the school grounds he did renew the inspection certificate for another short period.

1961. 3/6. The town votes that the Moderator appoint a Committee of Five to make a study and report recommendations as to the best interest of the town in relation to the two portables now declared by the School Committee to be of no further use. This committee recommended that #4 be moved from its present location to the west side of the L.Z. Thomas grounds, and donated to the Hanson Historical Society for a meeting place and museum.

Committee: Elsie G. Calder, Ralph K. Harley, Roy Lawson, Daniel J. Lewis, Norman D. MacLellan.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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