Official Seal


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


January 30, 1930

The twenty-ninth annual meeting of the Brookline Historical Society was held in the Edward Devotion House, Brookline, on January 30, 1930, 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 Annual Meeting of our Society. Our membership is as follows:
Annual members: 123
Life members: 23
Benefactors: 3
Total: 149

We welcome the new members of 1929. They are as follows: Stephen Davol, Daniel G. Lacy, Mrs. Warren T. Currier, Harold P. Williams, Walter Humphreys, Arthur L. Endicott, Albert F. Bigelow, Arthur B. Denny, and Thomas M. Devlin.

The following five members have died:
Mrs. Martha A. Kittredge, died January 3, 1929.
Dr. F. C. Shattuck, died January 11, 1929.
Frank M. Seamans, died January 30, 1929.
Nathaniel U. Walker, died February 13, 1929.
Mrs. Francis A. Gaskill, died December 30, 1929.

This report can give but a short and inadequate word in regard to these members whose loss we feel, as does Brookline, that was greatly benefited by their lives. Mrs. Martha A. Kittredge was one of our life members and one of the fifteen charter members, who twenty-nine years ago founded this Society. She gave us a very interesting paper on the eruption of Mount Etna, which occurred while she was traveling in Sicily. She was very active in war work, and after her husband's death she left Brookline.

Dr. F. C. Shattuck lived at 450 Warren Street.

Mr. Frank M. Seamans lived most of his life in Brookline.

Mr. Nathaniel U. Walker was for many years Chairman of the Water Board, and advised and carried through the joining of Brookline with the Metropolitan Water Board. He was a lawyer and a very kindly man.

Mrs. Francis A. GaskiII died in Boston, and her son, George A. Gaskill, is a lawyer in Worcester.

During 1929, the Society held four regular meetings in the Edward Devotion House, in January, March, May, and November. The Annual Meeting was on January 31 at 8 p. m. The Secretary's report was read, and eight new members were elected. The Treasurer's and President's reports were read. Mr. Francis DriscoII's report for the nominating committee was accepted and the officers elected. The President spoke briefly regarding the celebration to be held in 1930, and Dr. Denny reported the progress of the History of Brookline, which will be a memorial to the late Mr. Edward W. Baker.

The March meeting was held on the evening of the twenty-second, and the minutes of the January meeting approved. Miss H. Alma Cummings read a very interesting paper on "Medical Treatment in Brookline in Colonial Days." In these days it is hard to realize the conditions and suffering that existed in those early settlement times. After this meeting, as at all the meetings of the year, light refreshments were served and a social half-hour enjoyed.

The May meeting was on Thursday evening, May 16. The President spoke of the coming 1930 celebration, and the publication of the Vital Records of Brookline to 1850. Rev. Abbot Peterson read a paper entitled "A Family Oligarchy," which gave a valuable history of Martha's Vineyard in early days.

The fall meeting was on Thursday, November 25, at eight o'clock. Mr. Charles F. Read, Vice-President of the Society, gave us a paper on Boston's First Town House the Old State House. The paper was most interesting, bringing out the early Colonial history of Boston, of which town till 1705 Brookline was a part.

The same nominating committee was appointed as of last year: Mr. J. Francis Driscoll, Miss Elizabeth Eustis, and Mrs. Rebecca W. Silsby.

There were four meetings in 1929 of the Bay State Historical League. The winter meeting was on January 26 in the hall of the Genealogical Society in Ashburton Place, Boston, and "Memorials" were discussed.

The spring meeting was on April 27 at Natick, Wellesley, and Dover. At Wellesley, we went by automobiles through the College Grounds and to Dover, where we met the Dover Historical Society in their brick building. Our meeting was in the Natick Congregational Church. At Wellesley, we had afternoon tea at the Bradford's beautiful residence.

The Annual Meeting was on June 22 in the new Town Hall of Weymouth, the visitors going from Boston by train to Quincy and then by bus to several historical places on the way to the Town Hall. We joined the local historical society in celebrating its 50th Anniversary, in this beautiful new building which is modeled after the Old State House in Boston.

The fall meeting was on October 12 at Rowley, taking the train from Boston to Ipswich, and a bus to the Rowley Historical Society rooms. The subject of discussion was "The Significance of the Tercentenary of Massachusetts."

The afternoon and evening celebrations at the Brookline High School, given under the auspices of the "American Heroes' Day Committee," were as successful as ever, and the pleasure and instruction they gave well repaid the work of getting them up.

The Edward Devotion House was open as usual on April 19th and your President and members helped to entertain the rider, representing William Dawes, on his ride from Boston to Lexington.

The Vital Records of Brookline, to 1850, have been published by the Essex Institute, and the work of writing the Baker Memorial History of Brookline is in progress.

Mr. Stearns, Mr. Read, and your President have been a committee for this society to help the Tercentenary Celebration Committee in arranging the celebration of 1930. The Selectmen have the matter in hand for Town celebration.

By request of the Celebration Committee, the bell of the Brookline First Parish Church was rung for five minutes at noon on January 1, 1930. On the first Sunday of the year Rev. Abbot Peterson preached, in the First Parish Church, a commemorative sermon on the Puritans; in which he spoke of them as not only having a grant of land from sea to sea but a full form of government, which was the origin of civil liberty and religious independence in this country.

Brookline, January 30, 1930.

Walks and Talks About Brookline

In 1800, our Town was known and always spoken of as beautiful Brookline. This was partly due to the rolling and well-wooded surface of the country, and also to the magnificent elms and oaks of unusual size and perfection of shape that flourished throughout the village. The Aspinwall elm was the most famous of these trees. This stood on Aspinwall Avenue in front of the old Aspinwall house opposite the site of Saint Paul's Church. In 1800, this tree was about 120 years old. Soon after this date its massive trunk split and half of it with its wide spreading branches fell to the ground. About 1840 the old tree was cut down, but left a progeny of two large elms which continued to shade the old house. Another immense elm stood in front of the Old Punch Bowl Tavern.

The brooks of Brookline were most attractive and added much to the beauty of the scenery. One of these, called ~he old Village Brook, flowed through the valley between Tappan Street and Fisher Hill. During the nineteenth century this riverlet was not confined by walls, or covered by the present day culverts, but rambled through the fields at its own free will. Here passing amid dells filled with Jack in the pulpits, cowslips, and dog tooth violets, there winding its course through the bright sunlight and green pastures, it went on its way. Above New Lane or Cypress Street, it divided and then joined again, making a little grassy island, only to be reached by stepping stones. Passing under New Lane it wandered on, here spreading out to form a little pond, there narrowing and dashing over its pebbly bed. At the village the brook widened and made a cool foot bath for the cows and oxen being driven to the slaughter house at Brighton. How hard it is to realize, that, where now are Cameron Street and Boylston Place with their poor tenement houses and the noise of the railroad and trolley cars, was, fifty years ago one of the great beauty spots of our Town.

The roads of those days were little more than wagon tracks, bordered by thickets of native shrubs intermingled with blackberry, raspberry, and thimble berry vines, and were called lanes. One of the most beautiful of these ran from the meeting house to Clyde Street. By the side of this and back of the church was Trull's woods, afterwards called Codman's woods. Here were found the largest and most perfect wild flowers in Brookline, columbines, May flowers, hepaticas, anemonies, and violets. Early in the century this area was burned over by a brush fire and the wild flowers never again reached. their original loveliness.

In about the year 1800, some of the merchants and prosperous citizens of Boston, desirous of escaping from the bustle and noise of the large city, and being attracted by the natural advantages of Brookline, purchased land in this Town. They proceeded to erect substantial colonial houses, layout gardens, and plant ornamental trees. Among the first of these was Mr. Stephen Higginson, who settled on Heath Hill. He was soon followed by the Hon. George Cabot, Secretary of the Navy under George Washington, and Mr. Thomas Lee. Mr. Lee had the first English lawn in Brookline. There was a charming walk leading from New Lane to Jamaica Pond; this passed by his front gate. Mr. Lee permitted anyone strolling by to open the gate, come in and see his gardens and greenhouses. Often, he would pick bouquets and give them to the young ladies and children passing by.

The old Punch Bowl Tavern continued to be the meeting place for the citizens of Brookline, as well as for the farmers passing through the town on the way to Boston. In front of its hospitable doors stood a liberty pole on which a flag was hoisted on election days and holidays. Here the old fire companies and town officials would meet and have their dinners and receptions. The building of the Mill Dam cut so into the trade of the Punch Bowl that the inn was sold and in 1833 was torn down.

The building of the most historical interest in the village was the old Parish Church. Standing on the top of a hill in the centre of the town, its tall spire could be seen from a long distance. This meeting house had three front doors, the central one being the largest and having a pretentious porch, the other two, one on each side of the main entrance, opened on to flights of stairs leading to the galleries. The third story contained a long pew for the colored slaves. On the day of a funeral it was the custom to send a boy up to the highest opening in the steeple to report when the coffin left the house of mourning, then the bell would be tolled until the body reached the church. This bell became cracked in 1803.

In 1802, the Town had outgrown the old church and a committee was appointed to examine the old meeting house and report if it was in a condition to be enlarged. The committee reported that this was feasible but no action was taken.

In Town Meeting in 1804 it was voted to build a new meeting house and a committee was appointed. They were instructed to inform themselves as soon as possible as to the best design for the new building and to show a plan, both of its interior and exterior, at the next Town-Meeting.

The cornerstone of the new church was laid in April, 1805. The walls were made lying on the ground, then hoisted into place by the help of winches, and there seemed by wooden pins. The cost of the building when complete was $20,193. The whole expense was apportioned to the pews which were sold at auction. The highest price for one pew was $525, the lowest on the floor was $160, the cheapest in the galIery brought $110.

No account of Brookline of the earlier part of the nineteenth century would be complete without a short history of Dr. John Pierce. On one occasion the Rev. Dr. Putnam said: "As I understand it, Dr. Pierce is Brookline and Brookline is Dr. Pierce." Dr. Pierce was ordained pastor of the First Parish Meeting House in 1797. He formerly had been situated in Dorchester and his popularity had been such that several families of his old parish followed him to Brookline and settled here.

Dr. Pierce called himself a matter of fact man, and in this he no ways belied himself. He not only knew every person in the Town, but was consulted by them on any subject. He kept a complete diary of all that happened in his parish, knew the birthday of every member of his church and when they had been christened. In one case the question being asked when a certain person was born, and the questioner being told that Dr. Pierce did not know, said at once: "That settles it, he never could have been born." The Doctor always did everything by time, knew just how long it would take him to walk from one part of the Town to another and what the distance was. Some claimed that after his death when he should reach the Golden Gate he would take out his watch and tell St. Peter just how long it had taken him to come from Brookline and how many steps there were in the Golden Stairs.

When Dr. Pierce was installed pastor there were 605 inhabitants in the village and 72 dwellings. During his ministry he preached or supplied the pulpit twice every Sunday except one, preached 2,443 sermons and held communion 449 times. He solemnized 180 marriages and among this number in only five cases had both parties been natives of Brookline.

When a half century of his ministry had elapsed, Dr. Pierce had a jubilee. The members of all the churches in the Town united in the celebration which took place in the Town Hall.

Dr. Pierce died in 1849.

In 1844, the Evangelical Congregational Church was built, corner of Washington Street and School Street. In 1870 this church was outgrown and the present Harvard Street Church erected. The old School Street Church was then used for some years as a Sunday School. Later it was purchased by a Mr. Beals, a widower, who said he would always keep it in memory of his sainted wife. Later he married a young chorus girl or variety actress and soon after the church was offered for sale. I t was then again used as a Sunday School. When the First Parish Church was injured by fire, the Unitarian Services were held in this building.

Near the Meeting House stood the old brick schoolhouse, built in 1797. Beginning about 1815 Master Isaac Adams taught in this school. At the present time, it is difficult to understand how any parents could permit their children to be placed in the power of such a tyrant. Every morning he opened school with a long extemporaneous prayer. During the prayer he watched to see if he could discover some child in mischief or not paying attention. After the devotional exercises were finished he always punished some child, going on the principle that if he had not done anything wrong he was about to do so. His favorite instrument of torture was called the clapper. This consisted of a flexible leather handle two feet long with a circular disc three-quarters of an inch thick attached to one end. This was used for spanking. For slight offenses, the master used to send out to the woods nearby for a sapling; this he would split at the thick end and insert the scholar's nose or ear in the crack and make him or her stand up before the other pupils. He also had two unipeds; these were stools, one circular with a leg in the centre, the other triangular, having a leg on one corner. On one of these the poor little victim had to sit and balance some times for hours. He had many other forms of cruelty which he practiced on the helpless little children. A little boy between four and five, who had walked over a mile to school early in the morning, fell asleep one hot. afternoon. The master perceiving this crept up behind the little fellow's chair and tied his feet to the rungs; then returning to his own seat suddenly called to him, "Come here." Needless to say the child jumped forward and fell on his face.

Mr. Adams taught in the old brick school for seven years and then left Town. After a few years he was recalled and continued to teach for fourteen years more.

The schoolhouse was used for Town-Meetings as long as it remained standing. It was here the people gathered on the occasion of the funeral of George Washington.

There were three public schools in Brookline from 1800 to 1846. The Southwest on Newton Street, the Middle School on Walnut, and the North on School Street. In 1846, the high school was opened. This was founded to take in all scholars in the Town over ten years old. In 1847, the rule was changed and any child to be admitted to the high school must be not only over ten, but must also have some certain scholastic knowledge. It was recommended that certain teachers should be appointed to teach the pupils who were over ten but not qualified to enter the high school. During these years Brookline made the largest appropriation for schools in proportion to its taxable property of any town in the State.

In 1762 Mr. Edward Devotion had left a sum of 739£ 4sh. for the use of Brookline schools. This amount was only 50£ less than the bequest of John Harvard to Harvard College. This sum was invested by the Town in mortgages. In 1777, the fund was lent to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. When this was repaid by the State it was paid back in depreciated currency and the bequest had shrunk to $2,280.60. In 1837 the United States government made a distribution of its surplus and Brookline's share amounting to $2,209.34 was added to the Devotion Fund. In 1844, the school committee appropriated this joint sum for the building of a combination Town Hall, school, and engine house. Two rooms in the basement were to be used for schoolrooms. Thus, the Devotion Fund passed out of existence. In 1857 when the library was built, an effort to resurrect the fund and devote part of it for a night school was attempted but failed.

In 1877, a committee appointed to investigate the trust funds of the Town reported the facts connected with the Devotion legacy and suggested that the Town should pay back $2,280.65, the amount of the principle in 1818. No action was taken on this subject until 1884. At the Town Meeting of that year it was voted that a note for $5,000 should be paid to the School Committee as trustees of the Devotion Fund, but this condition was added, that this sum should be expended in the enlargement of the high school building. That a large hall in the building should be named the Edward Devotion Hall and that a handsome but not too expensive tablet in memory of the founder of the fund be placed in this room. At the present time the schoolhouse has been torn down, the tablet has disappeared, and the Devotion Fund no longer exists. In 1891, the Town purchased the Nathan Smith estate, including the old Devotion House. In 1892 the present Edward Devotion School was built, so the name of the great benefactor of the Town of Brookline has been preserved and honored.

There were also several private schools in Brookline. One named the Classical School was situated on Boylston Street, almost opposite Hill's garage. This was designed after a Greek temple with Doric pillars and was considered the finest piece of architecture in the vicinity. Later the rear and larger part of the house was added and used as a dormitory. Here early in the century an exhibition of the effects of laughing gas was given by the teacher, who administered it to the children. In the early twenties a Mr. Hubbard bought the school and built a large wooden gymnasium, the first one to be constructed in New England. Later this place was purchased by Dr. Shurtleff, the reader's grandfather. Dr. Shurtleff was a great fruit grower, especially of cherries and pears. During cherry time he would hire boys to pick the cherries and while they were up in the trees would walk underneath and keep them whistling. When they came down he would give them some of the fruit. He also used to grow fine figs, plums, and peaches. Some of the most beautiful and largest oaks and chestnut trees in town grew on this place. When Dr. Shurtleff came to Brookline there was only one Irish man in the Town, Mr. Patrick Dillon.

In the year 1806 that part of Boylston Street turnpike extending from the Punch Bowl to where the old reservoir now is was built. This road passed over Bradley's Hill, or as it was sometimes called, Vengeance Hill. Here later lived Captain Benjamin Bradley, town constable and captain of the Brookline Military Company. In the valley, just to the west of him, lived Mr. Benjamin Goddard, a much-respected citizen. When Captain Bradley ran for constable, Mr. Goddard refused to vote for him. On hearing of this fact the Captain rose up in his wrath and vowed vengeance against his neighbor. On the top of the hill, just where it would cut off the view of Boston and the State House from Mr. Goddard's window, he built a church. This meeting house was really a caricature of a church made from an old barn he had moved to this position. A large Gothic window was placed on one side of the building and in front he constructed a belfry and tower surmounted by a weather cock. Inside he placed an old pulpit that had once been in Father Grafton's church in Newton. Surrounding the church, he built numerous small cheap houses, which he let to poor but not always respectable families.

On Sundays, he held services in his church and anyone who could drink a glass of whiskey straight, could become a member of his 'parish. The services and sermons were often facetious and profane. He had a coffin made for himself and placed it in front of the pulpit; every few weeks he would lie down in this and see if it fitted. He finally outgrew the original one and had another made and used the first one as a wine closet.

Captain Bradley would vary the monotony of his life by every now and then going off on a trip with a certain convivial friend. They would start off in an old one-horse chaise on pleasure bent. In a day or two the old horse and chaise would come wandering home, much the worse for wear, then in due time Mr. Bradley's companion, and a day or two after the Captain himself would turn up. He would then stay at home for a longer or shorter time, holding services in his church until his pocket book became replenished. He would then once more start out to see the world.

Captain Bradley died in 1856 and the old buildings remained an eyesore until 1871, when the property was sold and the houses removed to Hart Street, or Hart's Content as it was then called. Some of these houses are still standing.

When the colony from Bradley Hill moved to their new location they met and united with another body of people who had moved up from Pearl Street. These latter were led by a plasterer named Mahan. He had for years been a well-known character around the village. He was accustomed each night to visit the Old Brookline House on Pearl Street, dressed in his bib overalls. If there was a stranger present Mr. Mahan would step up to the bar, rattling some change in his pocket, and suggest it was time for a drink. After they had all stood up and had their whiskey, he would take his hand filled with ten penny nails out of his pocket and the stranger would have to pay for the drinks.

After the Hill and the Marsh people settled on Hart and Sewell Streets, this part of the Town was called Whiskey Point.

From very early days the people of Brookline showed an interest in literature. In 1825, a few individuals formed an association for the purpose of procuring books. Dr. John Pierce was chosen president. The books were at first kept at the house of Mr. Oliver White, the librarian, but were later moved to Mr. James Leeds house, situated where the police station now stands. In 1827 a catalogue was published, this contained the names of between 300 and 400 volumes. Just how long this library continued the reader does not know.

In 1846, a number of young men of the Town joined together and hired a room where they could meet to talk over current events and improve their minds. Mr. Benjamin F. Baker, for many years our Town Clerk, was made clerk of the association. A smaIl room was obtained roughly fitted up and each member brought what books he could. The club also subscribed to newspapers published in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, and New Orleans. In 1848-49 the discovery of gold in California put an end to this library and the books already coIlected were divided and distributed.

On May 24th, 1851, the Massachusetts legislature passed a law permitting a town to levy a tax of twenty-five cents for each poIl, to be expended for buying books for a public library. In 1856 Mr. Baker had two articles placed in the Town Warrant to establish and maintain a free public library in Brookline. Ours was the third library in the state founded entirely by municipal action, Wayland and New Bedford preceding it.

The library grew rapidly and in 1867 $37,000 was appropriated to purchase land and erect a building and in 1869 the original part of the old library was built.

In the early part of the last century there were no conveyances connecting Brookline and Boston. The first line of stages was owned by a Mr. Spear and consisted of two small coaches. These made two trips a day, each trip taking six hours. The fare was twenty-five cents. The advertisement of the line stated that "Nothing is left to be desired in the way of speed, convenience, and comfort for the traveler." This line was discontinued in 1817 as it did not pay, many of the people preferring to walk in and out Boston and save the fare.

The New York mail stage passed through the village three times a week and in 1831 the Worcester coach ran into Boston over the turnpike.

In 1848, the Brookline branch of the Boston and Worcester R. R. was opened to the public. This opening was described at length in the Boston Daily Journal of that date. "Saturday last by the liberality of the Directors of the Boston and Worcester R. R. over 2,000 persons, mostly inhabitants of Brookline and vicinity, passed over this delightful avenue and notwithstanding more than fourteen trains passed to and from the city that day, not the slightest accident occurred. At the appointed time the iron horse decked with the American ensign was signaled at the entrance of the Town; it was welcomed at the depot amid the thundering of cannon, the ringing of bells, and the deafening cheers of the multitude."

The first time table shows that there were seven trains each way a day, the last one from Boston being at 9.30 p. m. All baggage was taken at the risk of the owner.

During the early days of the reader there were two stations in Longwood, Chapel and Longwood. It was the custom of the boys coming home from school to jump off the train at Chapel and catch it again at Longwood. The morning trains going in town were all named, the earliest "the workies," next "the clerkies," then "the shirkies," and last "the flirties." The station mistress at Longwood Station, in spite of the fact that she had held the position for many years, had never ridden in a railroad train.

The first fire department in Brookline was founded in 1784 and consisted of ten men, five from Brookline and five from Roxbury. The only pieces of apparatus that they had consisted of buckets and an engine that was not much more efficient than a watering can. In 1797, a new engine was purchased for $30. The water used in this had to be brought in buckets, dumped into the tank, and then pumped out. At about this time fire wardens were added to the force. They carried long red staffs with brass points on the end, with these they were supposed to put out the blaze, save furniture, or if necessary, tear down the walls of a house.

These early engine companies were social organizations as well as fire fighters, and more often met around the hospitable table at the Punch Bowl then they did at conflagrations. In 1828 a new engine was purchased for $400, the money being raised by popular subscription in Brookline and Roxbury.

In 1839, still a new engine was bought for $900. The Fire Company separated entirely from Roxbury and became Brookline Engine Company, No.1. The fire alarm was rung by the bell in the steeple of the Baptist Church, but the deacons refused to let it be sounded during divine services.

In the seventies and early eighties the engine was a hand pump or tub. At the alarm of fire all the young men and boys of the Town would turn out, grab the long rope attached to the engine, and pull it to the fire. Sometimes they would run long distances when called to help other towns. When they reached the fire they would seize the long handles placed on the side of the engine and help pump the water. The Brookline engine was considered one of the best in the State and performed yeoman's service at the Boston fire.

In the year 1869, the Brookline Police Department was organized and Chief Sanborn was appointed as the only permanent member. Soon a brother officer was added so as to control the increase traffic to Holyhood Cemetery and to stop the reckless driving of the hack drivers. At first the police headquarters were situated in the old hose house in the village. Later when the old Town Hall was moved across Prospect Street it was made into an up-to-date police station, having four cells. In the early years the officers booked their own arrests. Among these entries were: "August 27, Goat running wild, found guilty, and fined $5.00 and costs. August 28th, Crime drunkenness, fined one cent, committed to Dedham for non-payment."

The reader always felt a great respect for our police force until a few years ago when his son was arrested for speeding and brought before Chief Corey. The Chief heard the complaint, looked at the prisoner, and then said: "You go home and never come here again. But I will say this about you, you never have caused the police force half as much trouble as your father."

The Brookline Anti-Slavery movement started in 1832, but at first was composed of members of the most conservative wing of the Abolitionist party. In 1837 Mr. Samuel Philbrick, at the request of Wendell Phillips, took a destitute little negro girl into his family to live. One Sunday he took her to church and in spite of the fact that there was a so-called nigger pew above the front gallery, had her sit with his family. Mr. Pierce expostulated with Mr. Philbrick. The latter said if the little girl could not sit with him he never would go to church again, and he never did. Later the little girl had to leave Brookline as the anti-abolitionist feeling was so strong.

When President Harrison was elected, the abolitionists celebrated by borrowing a cannon and taking it to the top of Goddard Hill where they fired it off forty-nine times; they intended to fire it off fifty but the ammunition gave out.

In 1849 Mr. Edward Atkinson began his anti-slavery work, going around among his friends getting names to protest against the admission of Texas as a state. Later he became so active in this work that the authorities interfered and employed detectives to watch him. At one time, he escaped arrest by cutting his hair short and shaving his moustache.

In 1851 Mr. Philbrick and Mr. Bowditch were active in the escape of William and Ellen Crafts, the most interesting of all Boston fugitives. They lived near Macon, Georgia, and had always been treated well, but wishing to have their freedom planned to escape. One night in December they ran away and started for the North. Ellen being a light mulatto posed as the wife of a southern planter and William took the part of her personal slave. As she could not write she kept her hand bandaged so she would not have to sign her name. Each night William used to go into the kitchen and make a poultice for his mistress's hand. They finally reached Boston and were asked to stay at Mr. Bowditch's house. While here they spoke at a meeting in the Town Hall. Later hearing their master was in Town they were spirited away, Ellen being hidden in the Loring house on Cypress Street near Washington. William joined her in a few days and both were transferred to the Philbrick house. Some days later Mr. Parkman drove them into Boston where they were married and then sent to Canada. Years afterwards William visited Brookline and called at the Philbrick house.

Many of the fugitive slaves were sent to Boston by boat. One morning in July '53, the vigilance committee heard that there was a runaway slave secreted in a brig that was anchored off Fort Independence. The committee put off in a boat named Mobby Dick and sailed down the harbor. When they reached the brig Captain Bearse, the leader, hailed the watch on deck and asked if either the Captain or Mate were on board. On being told that neither were, Captain Bearse called out: "I want that nigger damned quick." The slave was immediately taken out of his pen near the keel and surrendered. He was then taken to Brookline and sent on his way to Canada.

The town of Lawrence, Kansas, was named after Amos Lawrence, who gave $10,000 for the settling of that State and other anti-slavery activities.

The John Brown insurrection put a stop to the growth of the abolitionist activities in Brookline. Soon after his execution there was a great hue 'and cry after his son, who at that time was staying at Mr. Bowditch's. He was secretly taken out of the Town.

Brookline did her part in the War of the Rebellion as did the rest of Massachusetts. At President Lincoln's call for arms, companies were formed and $75,000 raised even before the Town had time to call a Town-Meeting. In April, 1862, a meeting of the citizens was held and a military committee appointed. It was voted to raise a military fund by a Town tax and to this all private subscriptions were to be added. A hall in Guild block, corner of Washington and Boylston Streets, was hired and a recruiting station established. Mr. Samuel Goddard was the first man to be enrolled. The first Brookline company under Captain, afterward General, Edward Wild became Company A of the First Massachusetts. A second Company, under Wilder Dwight, became part of the Second Massachusetts.

From the breaking out of the war to its close Brookline furnished the government 880 officers and men. There were many other boys who had moved away from this Town to other cities and states and enlisted from their new homes.

In 1870 Brookline had outgrown its old Town Hall and it was voted in Town-Meeting to issue bonds for $100,000 to build a new one. Seventeen architects sent designs in competition for the building. The contract was awarded to Mr. S. J. Thayer of Boston. In granting this contract the committee claimed, "That they believed the building when erected will be one of the finest in any community for elegance of proportions, finish, and adaptation for all uses as a public hall. The design chosen in Gothic of the solid and quiet character so well adapted to public buildings. That we can hardly imagine that any caprice of fact or fancy will ever call for a more commodious edifice of this kind." The Town Hall was opened with a very elaborate service on February 22d, 1873. The Honorable Robert C. Winthrop gave the address.

In the year 1870 an effort was made by Boston to annex all Towns and parts of Towns lying south of Charles River and within six miles of the city. On the 27th of January, 1872, in the Brookline Town-Meeting, Mr. Wellman made a motion "That the Selectmen be instructed to appear before the Massachusetts legislature to oppose the annexation of Brookline or any part of the Town to Boston. This measure after much heated discussion was passed 243 to 82.

In 1873, an act was passed by the legislature to annex Brookline to Boston if the majority of the voters of the Town approved. Thirteen days later a bill in equity, signed by many of the prominent townsmen, to restrain the people of Brookline from proceeding under this act was drawn up and presented to the general court. Mr. A. D. Chandler in presenting the protest claimed that Brookline had the right to a popular form of municipal government guaranteed by the Constitution of Massachusetts. That as the annexation of Brookline to Boston would subject the former to a representative form of government the guarantee would be lost and the Constitution violated. The court did not agree with Mr. Chandler's views.

During the year 1873 a very active and bitter campaign was carried on over the question of annexation. Many meetings were held and the subject was fully discussed from every side. When the question was voted upon in Town Meeting no one left the hall; all waited breathlessly to hear the results of the ballots. When the returns were announced, 299 for annexation and 707 against, the people stood up in the chairs, threw their hats in the air, and shouted and cheered.

Several other attempts were made to bring about the joining of Brookline to Boston and the question was voted upon in 1875-76- 79. In this last year the vote stood 272 for and 541 against. This was the death blow to the agitation that had for ten years threatened to destroy our Town government.

During the last third of the nineteenth century, Town Meetings were always interesting and exciting. Mr. William Aspinwall and Mr. William J. Bowditch never failed to take a prominent part in the discussion and always took the opposite side of each question. When they really got going in good form the fur would fly. Mr. Bowditch explained the difference between their individual characters in this way, "I am firm but Mr. Aspinwall is damned pig headed." Mr. Alfred Chandler, Mr. Desmond FitzGerald, and other townspeople usually took part in these heated debates.

In the '70's and '80's the pleasures of the boys in Brookline were many. There was the Brookline Boat Club, having its boat house on Jamaica Pond. In this were housed eleven single, one double, and one four-oared shells as well as several canoes. There was a club crew which had many exciting races with the Jamaica Plain crew. A regatta between these was always one of the features of the Fourth of July celebrations.

In winter, there were always hockey games between teams, made up from Jamaica Plain and Brookline boys.

At the first fall of snow the sleighing on Washington Street began. The racing course ran from Washington Square to Cypress Street. All the fastest horses around Boston took part in these trials of speed. When the snow became too much cut up by the sleighs, the trotting horses moved to the Brighton Road in Allston.

Coasting was the true winter sport for the young people. One of these coasts started from the top of Wright's Hill on Boylston Street, near where the Christian Science Rest Cure now stands. Usually the boys and girls would drag their feet when they reached Reservoir Lane and stop the double runner, but on the last coast coming down to the village, if the ruts were icy, by pushing a few yards, near the corner of Sumner Road, it was possible to slide down to Village Square. Corey Hill was another well-known but more dangerous coast.

Later came the toboggan slides. The first of these was on Wright's Hill on the land where the Chestnut Hill Golf Course was afterwards made. One of the Town officials was much interested in the building of this slide and to him was given the honor of opening the coast. He and his wife were to make the first descent, but unfortunately the toboggan started before Mrs. X had become seated. The local papers in describing these ceremonies stated that "Mr. X coasted down on the toboggan while Mrs. X slid down on her own responsibility." There was also a slide built on Corey Hill.

The Fourth of July was always a great day and few of the boys used to go to bed at all the night before. During the small wee hours the youngsters would manage some way or other, in spite of the police, to get into the First Parish and Harvard Street Churches and ring the bells. From then on pandemonium reigned.

It would be of interest to see just what was done to celebrate the day in Brookline, so we will give the program for the Fourth of July in the year 1876.

The day started at 4.15 a. m., with the Antiques and Horribles, out-of-town floats taking part in the parade.

At 6.30 a. m., planting of the two elms in front of the Town Hall. While the trees were being planted the school children sang patriotic songs. Mr. Bowditch asked all present to join hands with the children and dance around the trees. The children then marched into the hall and registered their names. Afterwards a collation was served.

After the collation, a procession composed of bands, a military company, G. A. R., fire and police departments, paraded through the Town.

At 11 a. m. there was an entertainment for the children in the Town Hall. In the upper hall was a patriotic meeting at which Mr. Wendell Phillips, Mr. Bowditch, Mr. Edward Atkinson, and others spoke.

In the afternoon, there was a baseball game on the playground between nines composed of old timers in costume, and races on Jamaica Pond between Jamaica Plain and Brookline crews.

In the evening, there was a concert and fireworks. The day ended with a bonfire of fifty-two tar barrels on the top of Corey Hill.

The reader hopes that these few sketches may convey some idea of the beauties of old Brookline and bring to our mind the character and life of the people living in this Town during the nineteenth century.

First Meeting House of the First Parish in Brookline1717
Baptist Chapel, where Rhodes Market is1828
Baptist Church, Harvard Street1828
Congregational, corner Washington and School1844
Roman Catholic Church, Andem Place, St. Mary1852
Sears' Chapel1860
St. Paul's Church1852
The Church of Our Saviour1868
The Swedenborgen Church1862

Mill Dam, Authorized 1814Opened 1821
First Town Hall, Pierce Hall1825
Second Town Hall1845
Third Town HallDedicated 1873
Boylston Reservoir1845
First RailroadOpened 1848
Beacon Street, Milldam to Brighton1851
Roxbury land added to Brookline1844
Land north of Brookline given by legislature to Boston1874
First Post Office in White's Block1814
Lyceum Hall1841
Inhabitants, 1850 - 2,516
Tax rate, 1850 - $2.10Expended $12,966.13

1857. Justices appointed to try criminal cases, before that Justices of the Peace.

Old Aspinwall House 1660-1891

Miss Julia Goddard House. 1730, by Nathaniel Davis. At first only four rooms, all on the first floor. It had a very large fireplace. Only a grass lane led to the house until Cottage Street was built in 1763. 1791, sold with all the Davis farm to Mr. George Cabot. He made large improvements. 1803, bought by Mr. Stephen Higginson, Jr. Bought by Mr. Babcock in 1806, by Mr. Goddard 1838.
Heath street1853- 56
Harvard Primary1853- 56
Village Intermediate1853- 56
Ward School1864
Salary head teacher, $375 to $400.

Vote to take water from Charles River, March, '73: Yes; 303 ; No, 288.

1866. Land bought for library on Cypress Street. 20 cts. a foot.

Town Census, 1800, 605; 1870, 6,650.

First land sold by auction in Brookline at what is now Linden Street. Sold for 5Y2 cents a foot. Year 1843.

Hill where Town Hall stands was bought by Town for $450. The Town dug into this for gravel. In 1845 it was leveled enough to build the old wooden Town Hall on.

Philbrick House, 1821, the 100th house built in Brookline.



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