Archive for May, 2011

Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#19)

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Abby entries from May 1867 continue

Tues.  21     Willie Marland came up in the evening and staid till eleven oclock.  He gave me a small white handled pen knife.

Wed. May 22   Sewed nearly all day.  Went to bed in the afternoon.  Did not feel quite well but after taking some hot ginger tea felt better.

Thurs. 23   I went down to D. Moore’s and pulled my wart out while there.  Had my pique dress cut.  Sarah Randall and Aunt Abbie spent the afternoon and evening with us. 

Fri. 24   Went to walk after school with Hattie up to the Mansion House to engage board for Mrs. Goldsmith.  Did not succeed very well.  Mr. Frye was up in the evening.

Sat. 25   Aunt Abbie invited me to come down to see Sarah Randall.  I didn’t want to go and went to walk with Hattie down to Indian Ridge and met Aunt A and Sarah there.  Went I got home I found Frank Bates.  He has been to San Francisco and is going again on a long voyage.  Mother went to New Market to night.

Sun. 26   It rained nearly all day.  Went to church in No. Andover in the morning.  W. and L. Marland came up in the evening.  Perabo is in town and going to play at the Fem Sem. 

Ernst Perabo (1845-1920) moved to Boston in 1866 and became a prominent concert pianist and teacher.

Johann Ernst Perabo was only 22 years old in the spring of 1867, but he was already on his way to becoming one of Boston’s most prominent concert pianists and piano teachers.  He had begun his musical training in his native Germany, and came as an immigrant to New York City with his family at the age of 7.  He made his professional debut in New York in 1854 (when he was 9) before his family moved first to Dover, NH and then to Chicago.  Wealthy patrons from New York sent him back to Hamburg, Germany in 1858 (when he was 13) for more musical education. He remained in Europe for the duration of the war years and after performances in New York, Ohio and Illinois, established himself in Boston in 1866.

Perabo was invited to perform at Abbot Academy by Samuel Morse Downs, the school’s teacher of piano, voice and theory, who was responsible during his forty year tenure for bringing many distinguished performers to campus.  Perabo also performed occasionally at private parties, including one notable occasion in Andover when the artist/musician Charles Wesley Sanderson (then a music teacher at Phillips Academy) hosted Ralph Waldo Emerson and Harriet Beecher Stowe among others in “his rooms.”  Sanderson described the evening as part of a printed tribute to Andover Theological Seminary’s Professor Park.  “At about half past eleven Ernst Perabo was begged to play his own transcription of the great triple concerto of Beethoven for Mr. Emerson.  When midnight was near the pianist hesitated before the last movement of the opus.  At this pause, [Park] remarked, “It is getting very late, Mr. Emerson,” who immediately replied, “Professor Park, there is no lateness.”  Mr. Perabo consequently finished playing the work to the evident satisfaction of our transcendental guest.”


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (18)

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Abby’s entries from May 1867 continue

Wed. 15:   Mother and Louise went to L. to spend the day and left me all alone.  Hattie came up to stay with me.  In the afternoon we went up town and met all the Old South.  Had a splendid time.  I was introduced to Mr. Gilmore.  He was with me all the evening and came home with me.  Tucker K. wanted to come home with H. but Mr. F staid so close.  We walked over past the Sem before we came home.  There were not many boys there.

Thurs. May 16:   Went to a Tea Party with H.

Friday 17:   School.  After tea I went down to have the little wart on my forehead taken off.  I met Gilmore and K and after E.  She said they had walked up the street 2 or 3 times while I was gone.  They walk up our street [every] night and ever so many more.

Sat. 18:   Went to see Agnes Donald in the afternoon and made a short call on Mrs. Smith.  B and K walked up our street as usual.  Hattie and I were sitting by the (?).  Went to walk a little.

Sun. May 19:  Went to church in No. Andover in the morning and over to Mr. (?) in the evening – the first time since December.

Monday 20 It rained most of the day.  I stayed at home – called to see H after school.  One of her [teeth] is inflamed very much.  She thinks it is an abcess.  There is to be a meeting of the Trustees of Phillips Academy to day to see about taking the boys back who have been expelled.  22 of the Seniors went off to Lawrence and Boston.  I hope G and K w ill [?] wandering round.  I escorted George R and B into the Gymnastic exercises this morning.  They were on the piazza. 

There was trouble on Andover Hill in the spring of 1867.  The root cause of the trouble was the ongoing attempt by Phillips Academy’s irascible and gout-ridden principal Dr. Samuel Taylor to impose pre-War standards of morality on a post-War generation of students, many of whom were men fully grown, and even veterans whose education had been interrupted by the Civil War years.  But that May (with apologies to Meredith Willson), trouble’s capital “T” rhymed with “B,” and it stood for “baseball.” 

Baseball fever swept the Phillips campus in the spring of 1867, and was partly responsible for a student rebellion in May of that year (Currier and Ives, 1866)

Students at Phillips had played a form of cricket or rounders called “the Boston Game” as early as the 1850s.  The first baseball field was laid out in 1864 and the boys began to play interclass games using “New York style rules” before the War ended.  But baseball fever swept the school in 1866, with the enrollment of 22 year old veteran “Archie” Bush, a semi-pro catcher from Albany, who had been a captain in New York’s 95th infantry.  An enthusiastic schedule of intermural games was begun and  Bush organized a game against a team from Tufts College, which was tolerated by Samuel Taylor only because it was scheduled for immediately after commencement.  The Andover Advertiser (on July 27, 1866) reported on the game played by Bush’s nine against the professional Lowell “Trimountains,”  and Abby noted in her diary that her friends Oliver and Willie Perry played ball in their yard on Central Street. 

By the next spring, the game had become, according to Dr. Taylor, a serious distraction.  Matters came to a head one especially beautiful day when a few seniors decided to cut class.  Two of them – Archie Bush and a friend — travelled to Boston to watch a “league game.”  Dr. Taylor, reportedly suffering that day from an especially bad flare- up of his gout, expelled the truants and set the campus in an uproar.  In protest of Taylor’s actions, nearly half of the remaining seniors left campus without permission and went out for an evening dinner in Lawrence, reasoning perhaps that Taylor couldn’t possibly expel them all.  But he could, and he did.  Many of Abby’s boyfriends  (Cassander Gilmore  of Raynham, Massachusetts and Henry Miles “Tucker” Knowles  of Lowell among them)  were embroiled in this series of events that has gone down in Phillips history as the “Student Rebellion of 1867.”  Newspapers across the country (including the Andover Advertiser) reported on the dispute, and as Abby reports, the Trustees of the school were forced to meet to discuss Taylor’s actions.   

Archibald McClure Bush and his cousin James G.K. McClure were the founders of varsity baseball at Phillips

The repercussions of the rebellion were far-reaching.  Yale University declined to accept any of the expelled students without Samuel Taylor’s endorsement, and Phillips’s old-fashioned classical curriculum did not meet the requirement for any other prominent college.  Many of the boys, including Archie Bush, were tutored over the summer and were admitted to Harvard in the fall.  Taylor was infuriated that Harvard would admit students who had not received his blessing, but in the end the controversy forced Phillips to modernize.  On the subject of baseball, however, Taylor dug in his heels.  All interscholastic and off-campus  games were prohibited until his death in 1871.


Found It! Findings Update

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Since our first inventory day on February 26th, we held another inventory day on March 26th and continued inventorying smaller spaces within the museum. Thanks to our dedicated and diligent volunteers we have…

…Hosted over 40 inventory volunteers

…A total volunteer time of over 350 hours (almost the equivalent of nine 40-hour weeks for one person)

…Completed almost 450 inventory sheets

…Inventoried and entered over 7,000 items (the database is now accurate for all 7,000 locations)

And we are continuing to inventory the house (in fact there is someone up there right now working on more shelves). We hope to finish the Blanchard House collection soon. And then we can turn our attention to the Blanchard Barn collection.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (17)

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Abby’s entries for May 1867 continue

Tues. May 7   The night of (?’s) party.  He did not invite either Louise or I and he invited M. Means and Mary Morton.  I think it is real mean and I don’t like him for it.  He says that if he begins to invite he shall not know where to stop and so only invited those [two] beside the Fem Sem.

Wed. 8   It rained very hard all day.  Went up to Mary Morton’s in the [a.m.] to do an errand for Louise and to hear about the party.  Made a hoop skirt cover in the afternoon.  Mr. Frye came up in the evening.

Thurs. 9  Took a music lesson.  After supper Gilmore, Mcready & Knowles walked up the street as usual.  I went down to Hattie’s.  Met Jody Tyler twice and Davis.  I wish he would come up.

Friday May 10   Went to ride with Hattie after supper.  Enjoyed it ever so much.  Edie came up to our house after supper.  Mr. Frye was up and gave me 3 tickets for Gilmore concert for Louise, Hattie and I.

Sat. 11   Went to ride with Hattie after supper.  Willie Marland and a friend called at the house but I did not go down stairs.  Crimped my hair all around tight.

Sunday 12   Mr. Frye came up in the afternoon and took tea with us.

Tues. 14   Dull and rainy.  Went to the Gilmore’s concert in the evening.  It was perfectly splendid and I enjoyed it more than any concert for a long time.  Mr. F was unable to come for us but escorted us home.  

Patrick S. Gilmore was the most prominent and celebrated band master of the 19th century.  An Irish immigrant, he was not related to Abby’s friend and Phillips Academy student Cassander Gilmore Jr. from Raynham, Massachusetts (who had walked up her street “as usual” earlier in the week). 

P.S. Gilmore and his band played their signature song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," when they played in Andover in 1867.

The more famous Gilmore had settled in Boston in 1848 and played in various bands to growing acclaim during the 1850s. He was the originator of a giant Fourth of July concert on Boston Common (in 1856) and organized the next year a series of summer “promenade concerts” at the Boston Music Hall.  At the outset of the Civil War, he and his band enlisted in the Union Army, accompanying the 24th Massachusetts Infantry to North Carolina where they entertained the troops during quiet periods and worked as hospital aides in times of battle.  They were discharged in 1862 and resumed a concert schedule in Boston and the surrounding towns.  In 1863, Gilmore wrote the lyrics to what would be his most popular song, the rousing “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” 

The immediate post-war years were lean ones for Gilmore.  He organized two epic-scaled National Peace Jubilee concerts in Boston in 1869 and 1872, which featured a 2000 piece orchestra, a 20,000 voice chorus, synchronized cannons, church bells, and an “anvil chorus” played by 50 firemen.  Viennese waltz king Johann Strauss made his only U.S. appearance at the second of these concerts.  The concerts drew large audiences, in halls constructed specially for the events, but they were a financial disappointment for Gilmore.   In 1873 he was lured to New York City by promises of bigger audiences and bigger paychecks.  His home venue in New York was “Gilmore’s Concert Garden,” which became eventually the first Madison Square Garden.  He played at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886 and in 1888 started the tradition of a New Year’s Eve concert in Times Square.


Object of the Week

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Is this type of postcard you send to good friends, or what? Object #1987.598.2020

The Andover Historical Society counts hundreds of postcards among its collection and although many feature bucolic landscapes, picturesque old homes, or notable landmarks — more than a few are simply humorous and meant to elicit a quick chuckle from the recipient.

This example is postmarked Feb 2, 1913 from Waltham – a city nearly 30 miles south of Andover. With the popularity of stamp collecting  throughout the 20th century, it is not entirely surprising that the postage stamp is missing.

The back side doesn't allow much space... but the sender still made her (or his) message clear!

W. J. Mitchell of 123 Elm Street, Andover was the addressee on this comical piece of mail and the message reads:

Dear Will,
Here is one suggestion for a good time. Mr. H says he will meet you in Boston any time and he will show you a good time. I told I did not think you would care for that kind. Take care of yourself and do get some rest. Drop me a card once in awhile and let me know how Olive is.
Edna (sp?)

The postcard appears to be signed Edna… but could also be Edwin, or Edward. Depending on whether the sender was male or female, certainly puts the message in a different context.

A William J. Mitchell did indeed live at 123 Elm Street in Andover, according to the 1916-1917 Andover and North Andover Mass. Directory. His occupation is noted as ‘baker’ and he appears to conduct his business from the same address as his home. Interestingly, only 2 years later, an Agnes C. is listed as his wife in the 1918-1919 directory. Which begs the question… who is Olive? Is it a nickname for his future wife, or was there an earlier romance?

As with many items at the Historical Society– more research is needed! Check back for more details in coming weeks.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (16)

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Abby’s entries from May 1867 continue.

Fri. 3   Went to ride with Hattie after tea and to meet father at seven.  All the boys were at the depot.  They were going to a concert in Lawrence and we had a jolly time

Sun. 5   Hattie went to church with me in the morning.  Went to a missionary concert in the evening.  No boys were there at all. 

Mon. 6   Went for a walk with M. Gleason after supper.  About 6 or 7 boys came up the street and went to sit to smoke on the wall.  I sent down for Hattie.  I did not know how long they would stay but before she got up they had gone.  I did not appear as I was alone I should think and the boys would call Hattie and I the Siamese or some such name for we are very rarely seen apart. 

    One of the most interesting things about Abby’s diary is how familiar, even modern, much of her language and many of her references are to us.  When she says that the boys called her and her best friend Hattie ‘the Siamese,” we know exactly what she means. 

The rich and varied lives of Chang and Eng Bunker are shown in this Currier and Ives lithograph from 1860.

    Chang and Eng, the most famous set of conjoined twins, were born in Siam in 1811.  They were brought to Boston in 1829, and after successful and profitable tours of the United States and Europe, they became U.S. citizens and retired to a plantation in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  In 1843, they married two sisters and raised large families – Chang fathered 10 children and Eng 11. Their tobacco plantation was a large enterprise, employing as many as 33 slaves, but the need for cash to send their sons to college forced the twins to come out of retirement for a six-week engagement at Barnum’s Museum in 1860.  The War further devastated their fortunes (they each had a son who fought for the Confederacy) and they resumed touring until their deaths in 1874.

Millie and Christine McCoy were born into slavery in North Carolina in 1851, but survived to tour the world, and eventually purchased the plantation on which they were born.

   Abby also may have known of “the Carolina Twins”, Millie and Christine McCoy who were born slaves in North Carolina in 1851 and were exhibited in the United States and England, both before and after the War and their emancipation.  Fluent in five languages, they were accomplished pianists, singers and dancers who were frequently billed as “the Two-Headed Nightingale.”    


Wonder What the Congregational Church is all about?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Come hear Dr. Peggy Bendroth of the Congregational Library talk about the history of the Congregational Church on May 21st at 7:30 PM at the South Church, 41 Central Street, Andover, MA.  At the end of the evening you will know more about why the Pilgrims and Puritans came to America, why Andover was the center of Calvinism, and why the Congregational Church was the only church allowed in Massachusetts.  There will be time for questions.  All are welcome.

You will be sitting in the fourth meeting house of South Parish, Andover, Massachusetts, while you listen to Dr. Bendroth.  South Church is celebrating its 300th Anniversary as a Church.  It was gathered by 35 people on October 17, 1711.  The same day our first minister, Reverend Samuel Phillips was ordained.  There have been only seventeen ministers to serve the South Church Congregation in these three hundred years.

For more on the history of South Church and 300th Anniversary events, log onto the Church web site:


Object of the Week

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

The Andover Historical Society is fortunate to possess a large collection of pewter spanning from the 18th century through the early 20th century. However, many of the pieces, like the the pitcher pictured here, have very little information in their records. What we do know is that it came to us from C.M. Underhill via Mrs. Dodge. It is a 4 footed pitcher measuring 3 3/8″ in height. It bears no makers marks which might help guide in a search to determine the creation date and location. With items like this, we encourage staff, volunteers and members of the community to help us research and share information they might have. We never know where the answers might come from!

Object ID #1964.007

If you recognize any details on this pitcher, post a comment on our blog or facebook and let us know. Perhaps you have the key to the mystery!