Archive for October, 2009

Trick or Treat

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Andover Townsman Oct. 30, 1931


Andover Townsman Oct. 30, 1931

The origin of Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain which took place on the night of October 31st. Celts believed that on that night the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. To commemorate the event, they built huge bonfires, where people gathered and wore costumes, typically of animal heads and skins, and told fortunes.

Later under Romans rule, Roman festivals were combined with traditional Celtic celebrations. Again, celebrations were combined under the influence of Christianity. The church designated November 1st All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs and November 2nd All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. All Souls’ Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the celebrations were called Hallowmas.

As European immigrants came to America, they brought their varied Halloween customs with them. However celebration of Halloween in colonial times was extremely limited.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with a new wave of immigrants. They helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat”. Trick-or-treating probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.

The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular holiday, with parades and town-wide parties. By the 1950s Trick-or-treating was a major part of the holiday.

 Today Halloween is now the second largest commercial Holiday in the united States with Americans spending a near $6.9 million annually on the holiday!

Article taken from the History Channel,


One week left…

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Have you visited the Historical Society’s current exhibition, From Near and Far: 350 Years of Making Andover Home? If not, you have one week left to stop by and visit!


Featuring the stories of people who have chosen to call Andover their home from the 1600s to today, you can learn more about the many reasons for moving to Andover through the centuries. From business opportunities with Raytheon or the Smith & Dove Mills, to educational experiences at Phillips Acadamy or the Theological Seminary, to reasons relating to religious freedom, this exhibit explores the deeper issues behind choosing Andover as a hometown.


The Historical Society is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am to 4pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public during open hours.


From Near and Far: 350 Years of Making Andover Home
On exhibit through October 31st
at the Andover Historical Society



Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Genealogy is something you think about when you are young and do when you retire.  It is the study on one’s lineage.  It takes you back in time to those years that are a mystery to you.   Genealogy uncovers stories that drive you to the point of wanting answers, and you will research until you get those answers.


  Even though you do not have time today to begin your research, you can begin collecting information for recording at a later date.   Things you can do today:   take the time to put your family pictures in an album with a list of names of those in the pictures;  (do not use a ball point pen to mark the back of the pictures, the ink will evetually run into the picture. Get a special pen/pencil at a photo shop.);  clip  family obituaries and put them in acid-free plastic sheets;  put birth/marriage/death certificates in acid-free plastic sheets, and keep a diary of family activities, stories told to you by parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and dates of important events in the life of the  family.   You can also video interviews with relatives for future use.   Now put this information in a safe place so you can get it when you are ready to use it.  If you move, make sure you take it with you.


Genealogy is a project that takes time, patience, and lots of file space for your source material.   The rewarding thing about Genealogy is the fact that you were able to find your ancestors, and learn what they did and how well they did it.  This makes history mean more to you, because it now has a personal touch.


Genealogy Workshop at the National Archives

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Our Ancestors in the Civil War:
National Archives Offers Free
Introduction to Genealogy Workshop


The Civil War touched every American and continues to shape our nation. By 1863, a draft had been initiated; thus, no man and no family –whether they served– was unaffected by war.  Some served; some deserted; some were too young to serve* The army enrollment records for New England, 1863-1866, held at the National Archives at Boston (Waltham) reveal thousands of stories of our country’s most difficult time.



The day in the life of a teenager in 1866

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

dancingFriday  Mr. Deveroux came up to night and Father had his whist party. They all enjoyed themselves very much. Drank….


Saturday  Mother got terribly angry with Father for speaking of some Pickles which he did not see at the table at the whist party. Pickles, Pickles


Sunday  I did not go to church all day. Got a good Bible lesson. W. Frye and bates came up in the evening. He has a great fashion of calling me Mrs. B. lately and we have real fun. Greenleaf came in also


Monday  School all day. Went to dancing school in the afternoon. Made Caramels


Tuesday  Went to the Sociable in the evening at Mrs. Mortons. Had a splendid time. W. Dale was there. Danced twice with him. I think he is splendid now. I wonder what I shall think a year or two from now


What will Abby think of W. Dale in the coming weeks?


The day in the life of a teenager in 1866

Friday, October 16th, 2009
abby locke033

Abby Locke

Saturday January 6th Very cold. Went up to skate but had to come back. W. Frye up in the evening and we made some Caramels


Sunday Snowing. Did not get down stairs till ½ past eight oclock. Mr. Means house caught fire while in bed


Friday School. Got the worsteds for my cushion. Went down town with Edith, had a real nice time


Saturday Usual routine


Tuesday Made Caramels, very good.


Wednesday Finished up top of my cushion. Went to sleigh ride with W. Frye in the morning and with Mary Morton in the afternoon. Saw most every one on the street. Had a splendid time. W. Frye came up in the evening and brought some candy we supposed of course was for us but he surprised us by saying when he was going home. Well! Frye you will have something to chaw tonight.

 Mother and I went to Boston and bought a new Dinner set and a dozen Silver Spoons

 Thursday The dishes came and they are … handsome


Don’t miss next weeks entries


Join us in the Andover Firefighters Holiday Parade

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Santa Parade2‘Tis almost the season to be jolly, and in Andover, that includes the annual Andover Firefighters Holiday Parade, truly a joyous annual event. This year, the Andover Historical Society invites you to march with us as we celebrate the season in costume! Join us as we spread holiday cheer, candy, and news about all of our spectacular holiday events.

Last year, our contingent, with several members and children from the community marched in nineteenth century traditional garb, while a lively and energetic Christmas tree danced down Main St, and children from Bancroft School joined us in bonnets and aprons.

It is time to prepare for the 2009 parade! Mark your calendars and join us for this fun and memorable experience for the whole family. For details please contact us at (978) 623-2626 or Costumes are available for those who wish.


Get your Tastes & Treasures tickets today!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

TasteTreasures-lowest res


Join us for the Andover Historical Society’s
Annual Silent Auction


Featuring Spanish tapas and wine pairings


Saturday, November 21, 2009
At the historic former November Club
Unitarian Universalist Congregation
6 Locke Street, Andover, Mass.



Tickets $25
Purchase online or call 978-475-2236 to place your order


Don’t miss your chance to attend this year’s signature event!


Farmers’ Market Extended to October 17th!

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Due to demand by our vendors and visitors the Andover Farmers’ Market has been extended one week to October 17th. The 17th is a day to be in downtown Andover. Andover Day celebrates the grand reopening of Main St wcamera 7-17-07 022 2ith concerts, sidewalk sales, and food. Why not stop by  the farmers’ market for one more chance to enjoy the season’s bounty and all your favorite vendors? The market opens early on this special occasion running from 10:30-3:30. Don’t miss it!!


The South Parish Church Story, Andover, Massachusetts

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Andover, Massachusetts was incorporated as a town on May 6, 1646.  Andover at that time included the current towns of Andover, North Andover, and South Lawrence.  The original settlement of Andover is found in North Andover.  The settlers built a meetinghouse which was used for town meetings and church services.  For the safety of all settlers from Indian attacks, they were required to live around the meetinghouse.  As time went on and the population expanded so did the moving away from the center of the settlement to the south end.  Many settlers built homes on their farmlands and lived there.  In 1707 there was a vote as to where to build a new meetinghouse.  Included in the vote was a new location.  Many settlers objected to this vote and petitioned the General Court saying this vote is illegal because the town did not have the consent of the property owner, and the distance would be an inconvenience for Rev. Barnard since he lived near the old meeting house.  The General Court ordered the settlers to vote again to see if they would recommend a different spot.  The third vote was taken on Oct. 12, 1708; again the vote was to build in the same spot.  On Nov. 2, 1708, the General Court ordered the town be divided into two distinct parishes.  They appointed a committee to draw the dividing line, which had to be equal for north and south parishes.  This had to be completed in two months unless an agreement was reached, otherwise, the North Parish would retain the old meeting house and be responsible for any repairs   The committee failed to complete their assignment, and the division of the Town was so ordered. (more…)