Official Seal


Committee on Papers and Publications.
William O. Comstock
Charles F. White.
Charles F. Read.

Contents: With this publication will be printed in pamphlet form the four parts of Burials and Inscriptions in Walnut Street Cemetery, by Miss H. Alma Cummings.


The nineteenth annual meeting of the Brookline Historical Society was held in the Edward Devotion House, Brookline, on January 28, 1920, at 8 p.m., President Charles H. Stearns in the chair.


Members of the Brookline Historical Society and friends:

It becomes my duty and privilege to welcome you on this our nineteenth annual meeting, and to report the doings of our society during the past year, and to comment on some of the changes in the town. During the past year, seven of our members have died; there have been two resignations and two new members. The following members have died:

James Harrison Fay, January 12.
Thomas. B. Fitzpatrick, March 24.
James Adams, April 16.
Arthur Williams, Jr., May 28.
Moses Williams, August 21.
Frank W. Burdett, November 6.

James H. Fay came to Brookline with his parents when a boy. His father built the house standing at No. 43 Linden Street. It was among the earlier houses built on what was the Holden Farm, which was laid out about 1843 and called Linden Place. This house and the next one, No. 53, have been occupied by the same families for over seventy years. The houses built on this place were considered at the time of their erection, beautiful structures, and the colony was called - rather aristocratic. It was a beautiful section of the town, and the land to the north and west, now covered with houses, was then a beautiful wood, with a brook running through it. A fine grove, called Perry's grove, was much in use in the summer for picnics and gatherings. It is hard to conceive the great change in its surroundings. It certainly was a great innovation to change a farm into this group of houses occupied by Boston merchants. Mr. Fay, the father, was an Episcopalian, and very active in the formation of a society in Brookline, and was one of the original subscribers to a fund, the result of which was the present beautiful St. Paul's Church on Aspinwall Avenue. Mr. Fay had a family of five children: three boys and two girls; none of the boys married and James was the last of the family. After his studies at Harvard and the Law School, he went to New York City, where he spent the rest of his active life,' returning to Brookline a few years ago. He was of a gentle nature, a great reader, was fond of his old friends, and a pleasant man to meet.

Thomas B. Fitzpatrick was a Boston merchant, and had lived in Brookline nearly thirty years. He bought a part of the old Aspinwall place on Winthrop and Gardner Roads, and took down the house which had so many associations of old Brookline and which had housed several generations. He built the present beautiful mansion, near the old homestead, which is one of the finest places in the town, and commanding a magnificent view. Mr. Fitzpatrick was the senior partner in the firm of Brown, Durell and Co., and was of a kind and charitable nature. He was a native of , Ireland and gave freely to the cause of his native land. He was a life member of our society.

James Adams came to Brookline from Charlestown about twenty years ago. He had been connected with the old Blackstone bank until it was merged with one of the larger Boston banks. At the time of his death he was one of the directors of the Warren Institution for Savings in Charlestown and was much interested in the erection of its new building on Park Street, Boston, which has recently been occupied by the ·bank. Mr. Adams lived on Longwood Avenue and was much interested in our society, attending its meetings as long as his health permitted.

Hannah E. Cushing was the wife of the well-known and kindly Dr. Ira B. Cushing, and the mother of Dr. Arthur Cushing, who is one of our School Committee and did so much good service in the late war. Mrs. Cushing and her daughter were active in the Harvard Church. She lived on Harris Street.

Arthur Williams, Jr., was a long-time resident of Brookline. His father and he at one time lived in the large house on St. Paul Street opposite the St. Paul's Church. Mr. Williams was a well-known importer of Turkish rugs and goods, and had been quite successful in business. He was very fond of horses and will be remembered for the tandem team which he used to drive before the era of the automobile. He Iived on Edgehill Road in the house formerly owned and occupied by Robert S. Peabody. He also had a summer home in Scituate, where he entertained his friends. Recently his place has been sold to the Free Hospital for Women. Moses Williams was perhaps the best-known citizen of Brookline. He came here with his father when a very young boy, was educated in our public schools, and always took a deep interest in the town's welfare. I well remember seeing him at the time of the Civil War, drilling a company of his fellow school boys in the old Town Hall. He had filled almost every office which the town could give him, and most faithfully. He was a lawyer by profession, he and his brother Charles occupying the same office for many years. He was a trustee for many large estates, and was widely known in Boston and vicinity. He will be much missed in our town, and in the First Parish. He lived on what was known as the Winthrop estate on Warren Street, a beautiful home.

Frank W. Burdett was of the firm of Silver, Burdett and Co., publishers of school books. He was sixty years of age, and had lived for many years on Harvard Avenue, which was also the home of his father. Mr. Burdett was much interested in the Bethany Sunday School while it was in the old Harvard Church, and for some years was its superintendent. He was very fond of music and played the flute. He was a well-known and beloved citizen.

Outside of our society, I note the following prominent citizens who have passed on during the year:

Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Wrightington, who, after living together for at least a half century, died within a few weeks of each other. Mr. Wrightington was formerly of the firm of Potter, Wrightington and Co., who did a large business in the dried fish industry; this was later enlarged so as to include canned goods. He had lived for many years in Brookline, and, as with Mr. Burdett, he was greatly interested in the Bethany Sunday School, serving faithfully as teacher and leader. He was a dear friend of Dr. Thomas and a constant attendant at Harvard Church. His wife shared his devotion to the Bethany School.

Rev. John P. Sheehan, the well-beloved Roman Catholic priest, and a friend of all who knew him. He was a most kindly man.

Henry T. Richardson, a prominent lawyer, president of the Harvard Brotherhood, and greatly interested in the Harvard Church.

Mrs. Anna W. Gooding, a long-time resident of Brookline, was a lovely character. She and her husband came to the town nearly seventy years ago, and built a house on Harvard Street, which was nearly finished when it was burned to the ground. A duplicate building was at once erected, which is quite prominent from its dazzling whiteness. It has always been painted white, without blinds, and was known as the white house. Mrs. Gooding had a large family of children, grandchildren, arid great grandchildren. When ninety-three years of age, she had a sale of a variety of bags which she had made for the benefit of her church. The house has lately been sold, and is to be opened as a public house, under the name of The Old White House Inn.

Mrs. Sanford, another old resident, was the widow of Dr. E. W. Sanford, who died many years ago. She had been blind for a number of years, but was always cheerful and most happy to greet her friends. She was about eighty-five years old.

Dr. Everett Jones, a well-known physician of Beacon Street, was a comparatively young man; he was a victim to that terrible disease, pneumonia.

Samuel McCullough, a long-time resident, was best known as the sexton of the Bethany building. He Was seventy-nine years of age and a most worthy man.

Miss Abbie J. Corey was a member of the Corey family, long identified with the town, owning a large farm on upper Washington Street. Corey Hill was named for her family. Miss Corey lived to the age of ninety-two, and was of an unusually bright and cheerful nature. She was born on Washington Street and had always lived in Brookline.

William J. Fegan, a long-time resident, died at the age of sixty-five years. He had been .a dealer in boots and shoes in Boston, and enjoyed a large acquaintance. He will be remembered for his uniform courtesy and geniality.

Robert A. Boit had lived for many years in Longwood. He was in the insurance business, and lived to be seventy-three years of age.

Louisa M. Stearns was the widow of R. H. Stearns, the founder of the mercantile house of R. H. Stearns Co. Mrs. Stearns had lived in Brookline for a number of years, and was noted for her kindly and charitable nature.

Francis H. Russell was a long-time resident of Allerton Street. He was in the insurance business, and lived to be eighty-six years of age.

Benjamin Sadler: of Winthrop Road was ninety-seven years of age. He was the father of Mrs. Jacob Wilbur.

Frederick Higginson, a Boston merchant, had lived in Brookline for thirty years or more. He had a fine estate on Fisher Hill.

Louisa R. Sharp, the wife of Edward Sharp of Fairbanks Street, was the daughter of Albert Robinson, a tanner, whose works were on Washington Street near his home. Mrs. Sharp died in the house where she was born. She was an active member of the Harvard Church, of which her father was one \ of the original members.

Sarah Higginson Bowditch, the widow of our distinguished townsman, William Ingersoll Bowditch, had nearly completed a century of life, dying at the age of ninety-nine years and nine months. She was a woman of simple tastes, and a strong suffragist. Mr. and Mrs. Bowditch formerly lived in Linden Place, and later in the present home on Tappan Street, which formerly was a narrow lane in the midst of woods, many of the trees of which still survive. Her beautiful barberry hedge was a prominent object on the street.

Mary Robeson Sargent, the wife of Prof. Charles Sprague Sargent, was a woman of refined nature and an artist. When her husband was writing his extensive work entitled "The North American Silva," she illustrated it with many leaves of the trees painted in their natural colors. She lived to be sixty-six years of age.

If the ages of these citizens who have deceased are any criterion., it must mark Brookline as a healthy place in which to live.

Our society has held four meetings during the year, viz:

Thursday, January 30. The annual meeting, at which reports were read and officers chosen. Your president read his annual report, mentioning a number of our citizens who had passed away, and noting some of the many changes in the town.

Thursday, March 27. A meeting at the Devotion House, at which letters were read, written by Francis D. Crafts of Roxbury, describing a voyage in the brig Canonicus from Boston to San Francisco, by way of Cape Horn. This voyage was in 1849, and the passengers were men attracted by the discoveries of gold in California. Excitement was widespread, and though some fortunes were undoubtedly made, probably the failures and the hardships were many fold larger. These letters were very interesting, describing vividly the hard experiences of the voyage, and the crowded and disordered condition of affairs in San Francisco.

May 28. At the Grand Army Room, Capt. Walter W. Austin of the 104th Infantry, A.E.F., gave some of his experiences in camp at Lynnfield and the passage across seas, and some of the hardship of the campaign in France.

November 13. At the Devotion House. The meeting was appointed on that date, which was the 214th anniversary of the incorporation of the town. Charles F. White gave some notes on the properties in the vicinity of Newton and South streets with an account of the former owners of what is now known as the Goodnough estate. At the request of our society, the town authorities caused the flag on the Town Hall to be displayed, to commemorate the day.

The meetings of the society have been interesting to those attending, and the furnishing of a light lunch at their close has been greatly conducive to sociability.

There have been three meetings of the Bay State Historical League, of which our society is a member, and which was represented by delegates at each of the meetings.

There have been many transfers of real estate during the year and several notable changes have occurred, some of which are the following: One was the passing of title to the building owned and occupied by Dr. J. Herbert Moore at 1339 Beacon Street. This was a large house, with stores on the ground floor, built in 1901. It was bought by Ernest B. Dane, the house torn down and a large building is now being erected for the Brookline Trust Co. The new structure will be a fine addition to the many business blocks at Coolidge Corner, but many of us lament the passing of this substantial modern home. Another old dwelling, on the corner of Beacon and Carlton Streets, has been demolished, and it is reported that an apartment house or hotel is to be erected there. This house was of brick, and built in the early 60's, not many years after Beacon Street · was originally laid out.

Another ancient landmark to be destroyed is the Jacob Pierce house on Chestnut Hill Avenue, formerly known as Brighton Street. This house was built and occupied by Samuel Henshaw about 1849. There were forty-two acres attached to the place, both sides of Brighton Street. Mr. Henshaw died in 1862 and Mr. Jacob Pierce, who was interested in western railroads, bought the place. He died in 1876. Both Mr. Pierce, Senior, and his son Jacob, who succeeded his father, were fond of trees, and there are some fine examples of maples and beeches still standing, set out by them. At the time Mr. Pierce bought this place, all the northerly side of Fisher Hill was open land. There was no street nor building between Cypress Street and Brighton Street except this Pierce house and one other. Fisher Avenue was laid out in 1874, and Buckminster Road in 1888. Jacob Pierce, Jr., laid out and built most of the present streets. He laid them out in a liberal manner, and planted many trees along their 1;>orders. This is now one of the finest parts of the town, and is nearly covered with beautiful houses. This is largely the result of restrictions which were placed on the land when sold. Recently, the time of the original restrictions expired, but through the efforts of the Fisher Hill Society, the restrictions have been renewed, and this beautiful spot will probably not be marred by apartment houses for many years.

Another prominent estate that has recently been sold is the Mitton estate on Beacon Street. It has been bought by the Beacon School. The elder Mitton was one of the firm of Jordan Marsh and Company and he did a great deal to the place to make it attractive. It was built in the 50's by a Mr. Raymond, who lived and died there. The house, built by Eben Jordan, Jr., at 1600 Beacon Street, has also been sold for a school. This mansion was built by the younger Jordan in 1891 for a home. It was one of the show places of the town, and was occupied by him until 1898. The elder Jordan died in that year, and the son moved into his father's home on Beacon Hill. The place was vacant for some years, but in 1905, Mr. Wadsworth, a builder, bought it, and changed it into an apartment house, as it remained till sold for school purposes.

The, Guild Block in the village has been sold to the Brookline Savings Bank. This block of stores was built by J. Arison Guild in the early 50's. Mr. Guild was a successor to Jerathmael Davenport, a grocer who occupied a store near or on the spot of the property of James Driscoll & Sons Co. in the village. He continued the business in a part of this block until obliged by ill health to give it up. He was succeeded by Thomas Bacon, then by Thomas McMahon and Co. until the sale of the property'. This building has presented a sorry looking side on Boylston Street by reason of the widening of the street, which necessitated the cutting off of a portion of the building. Because of litigation about the damages, it was temporarily boarded and has long been a disfigurement to the village. It is hoped that the building will Soon be torn down and a fine one erected. The upper part of this building was used long ago as a hall, and named for one of our old 'citizens, Goddard Hall. It was used by a temperance society and then by a Sunday school which was the beginning of the Bethany Sunday School. The Panter block, known as the Dun-Edin, on the corner of Washington Street and White Place has been recently sold. This block was built by John Panter sometime in the 60's, and one of its stores has been occupied by James B. Hand, and later by his sons, as a paint shop for about fifty years.

Several buildings for business purposes have been started on the lower end of Boylston Street and probably that section of the street will eventually be devoted to manufacturing and business purposes. Despite the excessive cost of labor and materials, many fine buildings have been erected, or are in process of erection. The Building Commissioner reports that applications for buildings to cost over three million dollars have been filed during the year. Twenty apartment houses, forty single dwellings and one hundred and two garages have been built, one of the latter on Commonwealth Avenue and St. Mary's Street costing nearly or quite three hundred thousand dollars. A large building on Commonwealth Avenue and Amory Street for automobile business is costing over one hundred thousand dollars.

To go still higher than the materialistic gain, it is pleasant to report the continued and increasing work of the Brookline Friendly Society. As a report of its doings has been spread through the town, anticipating an appeal for more funds for its work, it is unnecessary to go into details, except the wish on the part of this society for success in its appeal.

The recent occupation of the Chandler Home on Washington Street, which is to be used as a hospital for convalescent soldiers, is a pleasant use to be made of this large estate; especially useful will it be in the summer season, when the men can get out on the grass and. under the trees surrounding the house. The use of the old Taylor House on Harvard Street by the Brookline Post of the American Legion is a happy solution of what to do with this building which has belonged to the town for some years and has been let for lodgings. It was built by Captain Isaac Taylor, a retired sea captain, the head of a large family. Captain Taylor was of a genial, hospitable nature, and the house was the scene of many festive parties. On the death of the parent s, the children scattered and the place was sold to the Brookline Club and then to Albert L. Lincoln, and by him to the town a few years ago.

In the Edward Devotion House during the summer an apparatus for heating water was installed, the town appropriating the cost. Unfortunately, the amount asked for was not sufficient for the desired improvements, but our selectmen have been asked for an additional appropriation at the coming town-meeting, and your president has been told that probably this will be granted. .

I trust we may have a pleasant and profitable year,
Brookline, January 28, 1920.

treasurer Report


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