Official Seal


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


JANUARY 27, 1927

The twenty-sixth annual meeting of the Brookline Historical Society was held in the Edward Devotion House, Brookline, on January 27, 1927, 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-Sixth Annual Meeting of our Society. Our membership is as follows:
Annual members: 124
Life members: 25
Benefactors :3
Total: 152

We welcome the new members of 1926. Our member, Mrs. Edith C. Baker, has become a life member this year, and Gardner G. Peabody, jr., has joined as a life member. The following have become members :
Miss Annette L. Crocker
Dr. Harold Bowditch
Daniel J. Daley
William Read Buckminster
Edward B. Richardson
Borden Covel
Mrs. Charles F. Pierce
Mrs. David S. Knowlton

Two members have resigned in 1926 and the following eight members have died :
Albert L. Lincoln, died March 6, 1926.
Frank B. Thayer, died March 16th.
Charles A. WW, Spencer. died March 24.
Michael Driscoll, died June 11.
Desmond FitzCerald, died September 22.
Seth Nichols, died November 26.
Henry W. Lamb, died December 8.
Galen L. Stone, died December 265.

We all have met with a great loss by the death of so many men in Brookline, men whose lives have been of the greatest benefit to the town, and this report ca n give but a brief and inadequate word of them.

Albert Lincoln, though born in Boston, came to Brookline as a boy and had lived here the rest of his life. He was a well-known lawyer, loved and respected by all who knew him. He was for a number of years a Selectman and was in t ha t office during the exciting time of the widening of Beacon Street. He took great interest in the town's welfare, and was president of the Anti-Tuberculosis Society and an active member of the Friendly Society.

Frank B. Thayer was born in the South End of Boston, but had lived here for the past thirty years. He was employed in the house of Wellington, Scars S: Co.

Charles A. W. Spencer. the well-known printer, had been a resident of Brookline for over forty years, and was a part owner and publisher of the Brookline Chronicle. For many years he printed the town reports and circulars, and for t he past twenty-five years had printed the Annual Rep orts of this Society, bound sets of which are in several libraries. Having been long on the publication committee, I can testify to his great ca re and helpful endeavor in that work done.

Michael Driscoll was a life-long resident and respected citizen of Brookline. For fifty years he was the Superintendent of Streets and also a member of the School Committee, for many years its Chairman. He wrote a very interesting paper on the old Heath School.

Desmond FitzGerald came to Brookline more than fifty years ago, having been born in Nassau, Bahama Islands. He gave the town his services as a member of the Board of Health, a member of the Park Board, for many years its Chairman, and for fifty-one years was a member of the Board of Trustees of Walnut Hill Cemetery. All this service he gave without pay. He was a Civil Engineer, and for many years had charge of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and the Water Department of Boston. He was much interested in art, and his beautiful gallery, which had always been open to the public, was one of the most interesting and beautiful places to visit. Mr. FitzGerald stood upon our membership list as a benefactor, and the Society has had most enjoyable meetings in his art gallery, where he would welcome us with our lantern slides and lecturers with the greatest cordiality.

Seth Nichols had a large and beautiful estate in Princeton on the slope of Mount Wachusett. This he claimed as his legal residence, though at one time he owned a house on Buckminster Road and lived in Brookline a considerable part of the year.

Henry W. Lamb came to Brookline from Boston as a young man and had always been interested in our town. For many years he was a director and treasurer of the Brookline Union, now the Friendly Society. He was a member and later President of the Trustees of the Brookline Library and a town meeting member. He was always prominent in Brook line affairs, and is greatly missed.

Galen L. Stone of Hayden, Stone & Company, Bankers. was a benefactor in this community, a resident here since 1890. His beautiful place on Buckminster Road has been greatly admired. His recent purchase of the White Estate on Boylston Street has been of the greatest benefit to the Brookline Hills district, for he has improved the property, making it, as it faces the park reservoir, one of the most beautiful of Brookline places. He owned also real estate on Chestnut Hill Avenue. Would that he could have lived longer to enjoy these beautiful places and continue his help to the community. He was of a retiring-nature and his many gifts were made without ostentation.

During 1926 the Society has had four regular meetings, in January, April, June, and November. All were held at the Edward Devotion House.

The Annual Meeting was on January 29 at 8 p, m. Mr. Edward W. Baker read his treasurer's report, which was accepted, and the President, William O. Comstock, read his annual report. The Nominating Committee's report was accepted, and the officers named were elected. A committee was appointed by the President to arrange for a meeting in commemoration of the incorporation of the Society twenty-five year s ago.

Mr. Baker read some very interesting notes written by the late Bradford Kingman relating to the building and operating of the Boston and Worcester Railway in 1835 and the Brookline branch in 1841.

On motion it was voted to express to Mr. and Mrs. Lowe the appreciation of the Society for their improvement in the rooms of the Edward Devotion House.

The April meeting was on Thursday the twenty-ninth at eight o' clock, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Society. Many were present. After a short paper by the President and incidents of earlier days related by Mr. Stearns, Mr. Read, and others, Mr. Baker read an important paper giving the history of the Society from its founding until the present time.

The June 30th meeting was at 8 p. m., in connection with the Nation's celebration of the Fourth of July. It was on the so-called "Founders' Day" of the week's program of the Sesquicentennial Committee, of which President Coolidge and Vice-President Dawes, with many others, were members, and at the request of that Committee. There was a paper appropriate to the occasion read by your President, and remarks made by several members, after which refreshments and a social half hour were enjoyed. The Brookline Chronicle has always been very kind about reporting our meetings, and a copy of that estimable paper, in which this meeting was fully noticed, was sent to the Secretary of the Sesquicentennial Committee in Washington.

The November meeting was on Monday evening, the twenty-ninth. Three new members were elected. The President presented a resolution upon the death of our benefactory member. Mr. Desmond FitzGerald, who was one of the founders of the Society in 1901and a copy was sent to his daughter. Mr. Frank H. Mason. Mr. Henry D. Eustis. and Mrs. Rebecca Silsby were appointed the Nominating Committee to report at the Annual Meeting in January. The paper of the evening was read by Miss Annie B. Winchester, entitled "My Winchester Ancestors," and was most interesting. A number of members present participated in relating incidents in connection with the Winchester family. Following the adjournment of the meeting, a social half hour was enjoyed and light refreshments were served.

There were four meetings during 1926 of the Bay State Historical League, and this Society, a member of the League, was represented at all of them. The winter meeting on January 23rd was at the building of the Somerville Historical Society on Central Street, Somerville, and as guests of that society the officers and delegates were given a cordial welcome in the new building. The subject of the meeting was "How May a Society Safeguard Its Collections?" Your President presided.

The Spring meeting was on April 24th, with the Stoneham Historical Society in the Methodist Church at Stoneham, where, in absence of the president. your President again presided, and many of us enjoyed the bus ride there and back.

The Annual Meeting of the Bay State Historical League was on June 26th, with the Old Bridgewater Historical Society in the brick Memorial Building in West Bridgewater. Much of interest about that locality was told by officers of the Old Bridgewater Historical Society. The subject discussed was "Action taken by Massachusetts towns for Independence in May and June, 1776." At this meeting your President was elected President of the League.

The Fall meeting was in Lowell with the Lowell Historical Society in the great central hall of the building that is a memorial to the Lowell soldiers and sailors of the Civil War. The subject was "Fabrics Used in Early New England," and many were present. All the meetings have been well attended and the subjects suitably presented.

Roosevelt Day in 1926 was not celebrated at the High School, for the Roosevelt Day Committee decided to celebrate Lincoln's birthday, February 12, 1927, this winter instead. Owning to the twelfth coming on Saturday, the Committee chose the eleventh of February. There will be motion pictures and music, and medals will be awarded for prize winning essays on Lincoln.

This report cannot begin to tell of the steady and healthy growth of Brookline during the past year. The growth of this Society can be greatly helped by work of all its members in many ways. Let us all take courage and be thankful for the progress we have so far made.
William O. Comstock.
January 27, 1927

[This paper was taken largely from the Winchester Genealogy written by Mr. Cunningham and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.]

My ancestor, John (I) Winchester, was baptized in Cranbrook, County Kent, England. May 19, 1611. He embarked from England April 6, 1635, on the Elizabeth, and arrived a few weeks later in Boston. After remaining there a short time he went to Hingham and received a grant of five acres situated on the present South Street in West Hingham.

He married at Scituate October 15, 1638, Hannah Searles of Biddenden, England, a town about five miles from Cranbrook, so they were probably acquainted in the old country. They had four children, John, Mary, Jonathan, and Josiah.

He was made Freeman in 1637. He joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery. He bought the so-called Renton Farm, possibly early in 1655; this was in the Muddy River district of Boston. This great farm of one hundred and twenty acres was on Cottage and Warren Streets. It went to his son Josiah and passed finally into the hands of Isaac Cook. His house was probably about where the house of Mr. H. H. Richardson, the architect, now stands.

In 1667 Muddy River was largely owned by such families as the Stedrnans, Druces, Winchesters, Buckminsters, Gardners, Whites, Sharps, Devotions, and Aspinwalls, whose history is the history of Brookline in the 18th Century.

John Winchester at Muddy River was surveyor, constable, and tithing-man. In June, 1674, he and his wife joined the church, and his son John and his wife Joanna, daughter Mary, and her husband, John Druce, solemnly owned the covenant of the church of the Apostle Eliot in Roxbury, as the Brookline Church had not then been formed.

John Winchester was not only one of the earliest residents of what is now the town of Brookline, but also a well-known Citizen. His sons and grandsons were among the most prominent and useful people of the community. He died April 15th, 1694. Several further generations dwelt in the town, some living here today. He has a vast number of descendants scattered from Nova Scotia to California.

In his will dated June 17, 1691, he calls himself John Winchester Senior, of Muddy River, aged fourscore and upwards, names his sons John and Josiah as executors, gives his wife Hannah " liberty to dwell in my house as long as she live and convenient fire wood brought to her door, together with six pounds yearly and every year so long as she shall live, three pounds in current money of New England and three pounds more in such time as she have most occasion, for to he paid her at such times as she call for it and also one barrel of Cyder allowed her so long as she shall live and brought in place she shall order." He states that as he had already given his son John thirty (30) acres of upland and three (3) acres of salt marsh, he leaves son Josiah a like amount of each. To his daughter Mary Drews or Druce, twenty (20) shillings in county pay, To Mary Winchester, daughter of his son Jonathan, deceased, " when she shall accomplish the age of twenty (20) years, a piece of upland of about eight or ten acres hounding on the lands of Isaac Heath." To his wife he also left the use of all the moveables in his house, which after his death were to be "equally divided among my three children and to my son Josiah. the improvement of all his lands not disposed of as long as my wife live for the bringing in of her maintenance and after her death the lands equally divided between the two sons." Certainly a most fair will.

His son John (I) was probably born at Hingham in 1644, but moved early in his life to Muddy River. He died in 1717 or 1718. He married Joanna Stephens, or Stevens, daughter of Henry Steven s of Boston. He was an important man in Muddy River, holding many offices in the town and was one of the signers of the petition to have Muddy River incorporated as Brookline. He was the first representative of the town in the General Court.

He had a small service in King Philip's war.

He had nine (9) children, his next to the youngest child, Stephen, being my ancestor.

He bought land in 1693 the northerly part of the town, of his father-in-law, Henry Stephens, and laid the beginnings of the two large farms, one on the Cambridge road and one on the Watertown road. In 1751 it was one of the largest farms in Brookline, comprising all land on the left of Harvard Street from about Coolidge Corner to Cambridge line and extending westward over what is now Corey Hill and reaching Watertown in two places; that is undoubtedly where Winchester Street got its name. He bought land of the Devotions and Aspinwalls and most of the old Roger Adams' lot on the Cambridge line. Some time before 1750 his grandson took over one of his father's sixty (60) acre farms on the other side of the Watertown road, so upper Washington Street was largely owned by the Whites and Winchesters.

Stephen Winchester (III) was born at Muddy River, July 20, 1686, and married Hannah Gulliver of Milton. About 1730 he bought a part of Governor Haynes farm in Newton near Upper Falls and build a home, they being one of the first settlers there. In 1750 he and his wife conveyed fifty-seven (57) acres of the land with the homestead to their son Stephen, and after him this descended to his son Amasa. He died 1757.

Stephen Winchester, his son, was born at Newton, August 11, 1723, and lived near the Upper Falls. He was selectman of Newton and served in the Revolution for short periods in 1776-78. He was well off for the times and had a large family. Nine children by his first wife, Beulah Trowbridge; two of them died in infancy. He married for his second wife, Hannah Hastings Aspinwall, widow of Caleb Aspinwall, and had by her six (6) children.

He left the bulk of his property to sons of his second wife, Edmund and Amasa, who had gone to Boston and were becoming successful merchants.

This line of the family also produced men and women of much strength of character and ability. He died July 8, 1798. He was the ancestor from whom I joined the D. A. R.

Edmund Winchester (V), son of Stephen, was born in Newton March 27, 1772, and died in Boston February 5, 1839. He married Prudence Skillings, daughter of John Skillings of Boston. When he became of age he left his father's farm and went into business in Boston, where he became a prosperous merchant. A few years later his brother joined him, and later still his sons, William P. and Stephen. became his partners, and later their two sons, Thomas B. and Stephen S., my father. He was the founder of the well-known firm of E. A. and W. Winchester and did a large wholesale provision and packing business. It was before the big establishments of the West and the firm was one of the principal ones of its time and did a large export and domestic business. It supplied the United States with provisions during the war of 1812. The famous Winchester soap that was well-known to the householders of the early part of the 10th century was a by-product. He lived on Richmond Street at the North End of Boston and in 1820-21-22 represented that part of the town in the Legislature. He was also a director in the Merchants Bank.

A pamphlet of 1840 containing sketches of prominent men says Boston never had two better or more useful citizens than Edmund and Amasa Winchester. Edmund died February 5, 1839.

Stephen (VI) Winchester, born in Boston, August 12, 1805, married Lucinda Stearns of Newcastle, Maine. She was my grandmother and we traced her family back to Watertown. He died September 10, 18-H. She ended her days in 1893 on what was Harrison Place, now Kent Street, and Station Street was mad e principally out of her land which extended to the railroad tracks.

Stephen Winchester was a merchant and associated with his father, uncle, and brother in the old firm. He was a keen sportsman and lover of yachting and owned the Pathfinder and other yachts.

Stephen (VII) Stearns Winchester, my father, was born in Boston, July 29, 1833, and married Elizabeth Holbrook Bartlett of Plymouth. She was descended from John Alden. They had three children, two daughters and one son, who is the last male descendant of our branch of the family as he has no sons. Stephen was for a time in the old business, but retired and lived first in Boston, then built a house on Harvard Street. Brookline, not far from the place where his ancestor, John (I) lived. He died April 27, 1880. His wife died in 1903.

My brother Edmund (VIII), the last male of the family, lives in Waban and is vice-president and manager in the Boston Insurance Co. He is well known and much thought of in the insurance world. He married Ruth Dennison Dana of Brookline and has two daughters, Dorothy and Helen.


Venerable Timothy Hatherly, the founder of Scituate, so-called by Savage, was my great uncle many times removed, and it was by the marriage of his sister, Mrs. Eglin Hanford, to Deacon Richard Sealis of Scituate, that I was in another way connected with Brookline. By his first wife, Deacon Sealis had two daughters, Hannah and Esther; the latter married, in 1639, Samuel Jackson of Scituate, and the former, Hannah, had married the year before John Winchester. The Winchesters afterwards came to Brookline. Mrs. Eglin (Hatherly Hanford ) Sealis had a son, Thomas Hanford, who was left in England to study for the ministry when his mother came with her two daughters, Letuce Hanford and Margaret Hanford, to join her brother. Timothy Hatherly, at Scituate in this new country. Letuce Hanford married, in 1635, Edward Foster of Scituate, and Margaret married, in 1636, Isaac Robinson, son of " blessed John Robin son" of Holland, the pilgrim minister, who never came to America.

Rev. Thomas Hanford, son of Mrs. Hanford Sealis, came to America soon afterward and taught the school at Roxbury and probably preached there. He then became the first minister of Norwalk, Connecticut, about 1652, where he married, in 1661, Mary (Miles) Ince, daughter of Richard Miles and widow of Jonathan lnce (H. C. (1650). Their daughter, Sarah Hanford, married, in 1705, my ancestor, Captain Samuel Comstock of Norwalk.

To carry the line further, Captain Samuel Comstock, son of Christopher Comstock of Fairfield and norwalk, and Hannah, daughter of Richard Platt of Milford, Connecticut, had a son, Nathan Comstock of Wilton, Connecticut, who married Bethia Strong, a descendant of Elder John Strong of Dorchester and Northampton. Deacon Nathan Comstock had three sons in the Revolution, one of whom, Benajah Strong Comstock, was my great grand father.


treasurer Report


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