Official Seal


Committee on Papers and Publications.
Charles F. White.
Charles F. Read.
Edward Baker, The President, ex officio



The twenty-fourth annual meeting of the Brookline Historical Society was held in the Edward Devotion House, Brookline, on January 29, 1924, at 8 p. m., President William O. Comstock in the chair.


Members of the Brookline Historical Society and Friends: -

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this twenty-fourth annual meeting and report our membership on January first of this year as follows:
Annual members: 149
Life members: 25
Benefactors :4
Total: 178

We welcome the six new members who joined in 1924. During the past year there have been five resignations and seven deaths of our members. One member died out of town in 1923, which should have been recorded in last year's report: Miss Eleanor Goddard May, a life member, died July 16, 1923.

The deaths during the year were as follows:
Walstein R. Chester, died February 13, 1924.
Charles Brooks Appleton, died March 18.
Mrs. Charles H. Stearns, died July 21.
Miss Hillary E. Hyde, died September 18.
Miss Sarah C. Rogers, died October 24.
Charles Pelham Greenough, died November 21.
William W. Taff, died December 24.

Miss Eleanor Goddard May was the daughter of Frederick Warren Goddard May and Eleanor Swan Goddard, who were married December 2, 1852, at the First Parish Church. Miss May was born in Dorchester, September 7, 1853, and her mother died four days later. She was taken care of by her aunt, Miss Abby W. May, at the grandfather Samuel May's residence on Franklin Street, Boston. He was a well-known merchant, who later moved to 27 Hollis Street, where he died in February, 1870, in his ninety-fourth year. His wife was Mary Goddard, daughter of Joseph Goddard, who owned the farm on Goddard Avenue, Brookline, afterwards owned by his son, Abijah Warren Goddard. Joseph Goddard and his father, Captain John Goddard, were both in Washington's army. Miss May's mother's father was Samuel Goddard who married, in 1818, Mehitable May Dawes, a daughter of the Patriot Lieutenant William Dawes, Jr. who rode through Brookline on the night of April 18, 1775, on his way from Boston to Lexington. This Brookline Goddard family were descended from William Goddard and his wife Elizabeth, who came from England and settled in Watertown, 1666. The May family are from John May who came from England in 1840 to that part of Roxbury now Jamaica Plain, where May Street bears their name. After the death of Samuel May, Miss May lived with her grandmother and aunt, Miss Abby May, at 3 Exeter Street, Boston, where the grandmother died in her ninety-fifth year in 1882. Miss Abby May died in 1888. Miss May often visited our former member Miss Julia Goddard of Brookline, who died in 1920 and as her executrix settled the estate. Miss May gave much to charitable works and left many relatives and friends who mourn her death . She was in her seventieth year.

Walstein R. Chester was born and lived for about thirty years in New London, Connecticut. He was one of a large family and Admiral Chester of the U. S. Navy was a brother of his. He came to Brookline about 1861 and married Miss Carr of an old Brookline family. They lived in her family home until his death. Mr. Chester was in the wholesale lumber business and died in his ninety-first year.

Captain Charles Brooks Appleton came to Brookline in 1890 and lived on Aspinwall Avenue. He later bought the "Dutch House," which was built in Chicago for the World's Fair, in 1893, for the "Van Hooten Chocolate Company." The building was taken apart, brought to Brookline, and erected on Netherlands Road. Captain Appleton was much interested in the cavalry and was a member of many patriotic societies. He was a frequent attendant at our meetings and is missed by us all.

Mrs. Charles H. Stearns was born and had always lived in Brookline. Her father, Michael Mellen, bought a house ill 1839 on what was then Harrison Place, now part of Kent Street. The home has been taken down and a large apartment ho use built on the site. Anna Mellen married Charles H. Stearns in 1862 and they lived together nearly sixty-two years. She was greatly interested in temperance, and joined the society called the "Sons of Temperance" in her youth. She was a charter member of the Brookline branch of the "Woman's Christian Temperance Union" and for many years its president. She carried on for many years a Reading Room in the Village, and later conceived and carried out the idea of a large building for club meetings, etc. This resulted in the erection of the Union Building, now occupied by the Brookline Friendly Society. She was eighty-four years of age and greatly beloved by us all.

Miss Mary Elizabeth Hyde was born and lived most of her life of seventy -five years on the estate of her father, William J. Hyde, in the southern part of Brookline. The beautifully located farm was a portion of the land granted by Boston in 1639 to Griffeth Bowell from whom Miss Hyde was descended. She was also descended from Mary Chilton of the Mayflower. She was a teacher in the Heath and Newton Street Schools for about thirty years. For the past ten years she had been an invalid.

Miss Sarah C. Rogers was born and had lived all her life in Brookline. Her father, Daniel H. Rogers, was for many years in the auditor's office at the State House and also was auditor of Brookline. Miss Rogers 011 her mother's side was related to two of Brookline's oldest families, the Davises and Coreys. She was a devoted member of the Swedenborgian Church. She was seventy-eight years of age.

Charles P. Greenough came to Brookline in 1883 and lived on Carlton Street in the Longwood district. He was a lawyer of distinction and at one time president of the Massachusetts Bar. He was much interested in historical matters. He died at the age of seventy-five.

William W. Taff came to Brookline in 1897 and lived on Manchester Road, later moving to Druce Road where he died. He was a Boston merchant and died at the age of fifty-eight years.

We had during the year four regular meetings of the Society: one at the art gallery of Mr. Desmond FitzGerald, and three at the Edward Devotion House. Besides these we welcomed the Bay State Historical League, of which this society is a member, to their winter meeting at the Brookline High School, on Saturday afternoon, February sixteenth. Mr. Edward W. Baker gave an address on the "History of Brookline," and there was a discussion upon the " Preparation and Publication of Maps by Historical Societies," in which this society has taken a leading part, as shown by our annual report of 1923, with its ten valuable maps of Brookline.

January 29, 1924, was the Annual Meeting held at the Edward Devotion House at 8 p. m., at which officers for the coming year were elected, and your president, Mr. William O. Comstock, read his annual report. This report, with the Treasurer's report and a list of the officers and members of the Society, has been printed and a copy mailed to every member of the Society and sent to several public libraries.

March 28, 1924. Accepting the kind invitation of our member, Mr. Desmond FitzGerald, this meeting was held at his art gallery in Brookline and a large number of members and guests were present. The president spoke of the death of our member, Captain Charles Brooks Appleton, at whose funeral the Society was represented.

A lantern slide lecture was given by Dr. Alfred Johnson of Brookline upon a " House-boat Journey, through the Inland Waterways, to the Sites of the Early Settlements of our Atlantic Coast, from 'Maine to Florida ." The views were from photographs taken by Dr. Johnson. The lecture was most interesting and enjoyed by all. Thanks were extended to the speaker and to Mr. FitzGerald whose beautiful gallery we much enjoyed.

May 29, 1924. This meeting of the Society was at the Edward Devotion House at eight o'clock . The speaker of the evening was Mr. Walter Kendall Watkins, secretary of the Colonial Wars Society in Massachusetts and registrar of the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, who told us of "The Growth of Boston in Three Centuries," with lantern slide illustrations from many old and interesting prints of the city.

November 13, 1924. This meeting, celebrating Brookline Day, was the last of the year and held at the Edward Devotion House, President Comstock presiding. In the absence of the secretary, Mr. Charles F. Read was elected secretary pro tern .

Mr. Frank H. Mason, Mrs. Rebecca W. Silsby, and Mr. Henry D. Eustis were appointed as a commit tee to nominate officers for the coming year and report at the next meeting. The president read a letter from the Brookline Teachers' Club bespeaking the interest of the Brookline Historical Society in the projects of the Club. It was voted to co-operate as far as possible.

Our member, Mr. T. Julien Silsby, read a paper entitled "The Massachusetts Provincial Congress in Salem and Concord in 1774, one hundred and fifty years ago." A rising vote of thanks was extended to Mr. Silsby for his interesting paper. The president refer red to the action of the Brookline meeting on September 27,1774, in choosing Captain Benjamin White as their representative to the General Assembly on October 5, 1774, at Salem, with instruction to him from Doctor William Aspinwall, Major William Thompson, and Mr. John Goddard. This town also sent two delegates, Major William Thompson and Mr. John Goddard, to the Provincial Congress at Concord on October 11, 1774, to recover and secure the just Rights and Liberties of America ."

There were four meetings during 1924 of the Bay State Historical League, and this Society has been represented at all of them: February 16, at the High School building in Brookline, there were many present. Interesting early maps of Brookline were shown by Mr. Baker, who gave an address upon the history of the town. After the meeting refreshments were served in the large lunch room of the School. April 12, in Wilder Hall of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, in Boston, where Mr. Charles A. Coolidge of the Boston Park Commission gave an illustrated lecture on "Early New England Grave Stones." June 21, the annual meeting was also in the building of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. After the regular business there was a discussion on "How to Increase the Usefulness of the League." October 11, in the "Abraham Browne House," 562 Main Street, Watertown, restored by the "Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities." Representatives of that Society and of the Watertown Historical Society addressed the meeting and the subject of discussion was the "Response of Massachusetts Towns to the Lexington Alarm."

The Historical Society of Brookline welcomed again the rider on the 19th of April, at the Edward Devotion House, as he went with his escort from Boston to Lexington personifying Lieutenant William Dawes, Jr., who had taken the ride by the same house one hundred and forty-nine years ago. We are in hopes that his descendant Brigadier General Charles Gates Dawes, who will then be Vice-President of the United States, will take part in the ride upon the next 19th of April.

Roosevelt Day was celebrated at the Brookline High School as last year and the large hall was filled in the afternoon and nearly as many came in the evening. Our treasurer, Mr. Baker, represented this Society on the committee of arrangements, and our member, Mr. FitzGerald, represented the Colonial Wars Society, and your president the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. The program was well carried out and aimed to inspire good Americanism in all present. The Grammar Schools as well as the High School were well represented.

The past year has shown little change in the rapid and solid growth of Brookline and we have now a population of over 41,000, enough to make more than three Massachusetts cities of 12,000 each. May all good works and general prosperity continue.
William O. Comstock.
January 29, 1925

treasurer Report


Members pg. 1
Members pg. 2
Members pg. 3