Archive for June, 2011

Have you seen the new exhibit?

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Now Open, The Dirt on Argilla Road at the Andover Historical Society thru October 31st, 2011

At the Farmers’ Market opening day on June 25th, Susan Spark a local Andover Resident took some time to visit our new exhibit.  Her favorite piece was the small toy tractor on loan from her family that she played on as a child.

Susan Spark visiting the new exhibit

See below an image of Susan as a child riding the International Harvester tractor that was a gift from her neighbor.  Susan said that tractor has traveled with her family for over 30 years across the country as she relocated.

This toy tractor is now featured in The Dirt on Argilla Road

For those of us living and working in Andover today, it is hard to imagine that Andover was a significant farming community through the 1950s.  Until the mid-1800s, most residents maintained “kitchen” farms that provided eggs, vegetables, poultry and dairy products for their families.   Around 1850 however, with the arrival of train service and the “turnpikes” (now Routes 28 and 114), specialized, commercial farms began to emerge.

Andover’s evolution from a semi-rural, farming town to the suburban “bedroom community” it is today began in the late 1950s, with the construction of Routes 495 and 93.  As developers swooped in to buy this valuable land, the farms quickly disappeared from the landscape.

Revisit the West Parish Farms featured in this exhibit, and try to imagine that dairy herds, poultry and vegetable farms very recently flourished in this now residential area.

Visit the Andover Historical Society Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. to see our historic farming collection in our new exhibit.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1960s Andover (#23)

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Abby’s entries from June 1867 continue

Wednesday 19 :   Wallace Tucker stopped in Andover to day and Louise and I persuaded her to stay all night.  We went to a concert at our school in the evening.  It was miserable and I didn’t have a bit nice time.

Thursday 20Louise got all ready to go up to Mrs. Johnson’s reception but it rained so hard she couldn’t go.  Hattie Baker and I went over to Lawrence about 5 oclock. 

Friday June 21Went to walk with Hattie after tea.  Met Marys Morton and Means.  They had been up to my house and had met G & K on the street.  Mr. Frye was there when I came home.

Saturday 22:  Went over to Miss Phebe’s room after school to have a talk with her.  She gave me two or three little books to read and I am glad I went.  Mr. and Mrs. Burtt called in the evening to invite us to a picnic on the 4th. 

The Boston "Commandery" of Masons dedicated its temple at the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets on June 24, 1867.

Monday June 24St. John’s Day.  The Free Masons had a grand time in Boston to day.  Father was in the procession.  He wanted Louise and I to go down but it was so warm we didn’t.

Fraternal organizations possessed a strong appeal for American men in the late 19th century.  Semi-secret societies like the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, their total membership numbering in the millions, used elaborate rituals to unite its members in bonds of brotherhood that were, of course, also useful as social and business connections.  In Andover, St. Matthew’s Lodge of Masons, whose charter dated to 1822, had survived a mid-century anti-Masonic movement (led in part by professors at the Andover Theological Seminary) in which they had been forced to go underground, and enjoyed a surge in applicants after the Civil War. 

Abby’s father Samuel B. Locke was a member of the Knights Templar– a branch of American Masons who professed a belief in the Christian religion.  He maintained his affiliation with the Boston “Commandery” from around the time of Abby’s birth (in 1851) until his death in 1901, and apparently did not join the Andover lodge.   

On June 24, 1867 (St, John’s Day or the Freemason’s anniversary), the  Masons dedicated a new temple on the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets, to replace a previous building that had been destroyed by fire in 1864.  The new building was a massive, Gothic structure, with seven stories above the basement and a 121-foot octagonal tower rising from each corner.  It included three large meeting rooms, decorated “respectively in the Corinthian, Egyptian, and Gothic styles” as well as three large banqueting halls and many ante-rooms, small halls and offices.  An estimated 12,000 Masons (“a larger number of Masons than were ever before brought together in any part of the world or period of time”)  from more than 200 Massachusetts and New England lodges, marched in full regalia from Boston Common to the Boston Music Hall.  Also present on that day was sitting President Andrew Johnson, who reportedly took the opportunity to hold the “Washington Bible” on which George Washington (also a fully-participating Mason) had taken his oath of office at his first inauguration.


Farmers’ Market Opening Day this Weekend!!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Join us this Saturday June 25th from 12:30-3:30 at the Andover Farmers’ Market.  Celebrate our 5th season by visiting all of the new and returning vendors selling fresh produce, breads, wines, seafood, crafts, and much much more!! 

Visit the Farmers’ Market every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month and stop inside the Andover Historical Society to check out the Artisan Sales areas.  Find lotions, candles, home decor, jewelry all by local artist and crafters.

Children’s crafts will be located on the porch.  Musicians and healthy living professionals will also join us this summer at the Andover Farmers’ Market.

This weekend Professional Flamenco Guitarist Evan Cary is performing.

Don’t miss it!


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#22)

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Abby’s entries from June 1867 continue: 

Tuesday  11The Astronomy Class went up to Mrs. Eaton’s to look at the moon through the Telescope.  Slept with Mattie Gleason at Davis Hall.

Wednesday June 12:  Staid with Mattie till about four then came home and took a ride.  It was very warm and Louise told me I looked like Carney I was so burnt.

Thursday 13:  Very warm.  Wore a muslin dress.  After supper Louise, Clara, Hattie and I took a short drive.  We met a crazy man on the hill and stopped to talk to him.

Friday 14Mr. F came up after supper with his horse and we took a short ride.  When I got home found Mr. Tyler and Gilmore there.  They went home at ten. 

Saturday June 15To day there was a [?] in the house and my eyes were so red and swollen with crying could not go to school in the after.

Abby and her sisters became baptized members of Christ (Episcopal) Church in Andover. The church's original building (shown here) burned in 1886.

Sunday 16:  Christine was sick to day and I had to stay home.  Louise was baptized in the afternoon. 

Monday  17:  Got up at 12 past four and all the work done before eight.  Hattie came up with Joshua a little while in the p.m.  W.D. came up in the morning and made a call. 

Tuesday June 18In the evening Confirmation.  There were six in the class with Louise, Mary Morton and Edith.  It rained torrents and [?] were there.  I liked Bishop Clarke ever so well.

Abby’s sister Louise was the first of her family to take the formal step of joining the Episcopal Church, but her sisters, Abby included, would soon follow.  According to the Christ Church records, Abby was baptized on Trinity Sunday (June 9), 1868, at the age of 16 with her sister Louise, Mrs. E.F.M. Raymond (her friend Edith’s mother) and Mrs.  M.E. Babbitt (the rector’s wife) as sponsors and confirmed on Monday evening, June 17.  Abby and Louise were listed among the congregation’s regular communicants by the Rev. James Thomson when he became the parish’s new rector in November 1869.  Sister Clara joined the church in 1870, and Florence (or Flossie) in 1874, with Abby and her soon-to-be husband T. Dennie Thomson – the rector’s son — as her sponsors.   



The Flag of We the People

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

The one object that Americans look for in time of war or peace is the American Flag.  On June 14th we will celebrate Flag Day or “Flag Birthday”.  The Continental Congress on June 14, 1777 established the New Nation’s Flag when it passed the first of many Flag Acts: “Resolved, That the Flag of the United State be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”  As states were added to the Union, a new white star was added to the Flag.  It was the Act of April 4, 1818 signed by President James Monroe that established the flag to have only thirteen stripes and a star to be added to the Flag on the 4th of July following the state’s admission to the Union.  As states were added the President would issue an Executive Order describing the arrangement of the stars always with the star pointing upwards.

Flag Day came about in 1885 when a schoolteacher, BJ Cigrand, organized the students in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to recognize June 14th as “Flag Birthday”.   Over the following years, he continued to advocate for the celebration of “Flag Birthday” or “Flag Day” through the newspapers and public speeches.  The enthusiasm caught on in New York City, Philadelphia and elsewhere.

After a period of time President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14th as Flag Day on May 30, 1916.  Many areas of the Country celebrated Flag Day, but the date, June 14th, was not designated as National Flag Day until August 3, 1949 when President Harry Truman signed the Act of Congress.

Be a proud American and fly your American Flag on Tuesday, June 14th.  Mine have been out since Memorial Day.   Will you do it?


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#21)

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Abby’s entries from June 1867 continue

Tues. 4   Went to ride with Mr. F. after tea with his span.  Had a nice ride.  Stopped at Hattie’s.  He said he would call there next Tuesday and I think he will take her to ride.

Wed. 5   It is so warm and beautiful.  To day Louise, Mr. F. and I sat out on the steps a long while.  I felt quite jolly and acted so I suppose.

Abby attended the wedding of Mary Dove and Francis Howe Johnson on June 6, 1867 at Andover's Free Church, in its original location on Railroad Street in Andover. (Andover Historical Society collection)

Thurs. June 6   Intensely warm.  Went to Mary Dove’s wedding.  Quite a grand affair.  Mr. F and Willie came up in the evening.  I had on a barege.  I do not remember of pulling one on so early before.

Fri. 7:  School.  Very warm.  Had a Thunder shower in the afternoon.  W.M.  up and as usual played all the time.  Took a short ride after tea with Louise. 

Sat. 8   Edie came up to our house after Tea and we went down to see Hattie.  Mr. F. was up and had some nice candy.  I finished my hat to day. All the girls think it sweet, pretty, beautiful and so it is.  Father came home with a sore throat from Washington.

Sun. June 9   Mr. F. was up and came to meet us.  I didn’t like that very well.  Went to the Episcopal Church in the morning, to No. Andover in the afternoon.  Went with H. to Sunday School concert in the evening.  Mr. Gilmore escorted me home.  Mr. Tyler came in with H.  We walked up as far as Mr. Clarke’s and then stood talking in front till 9 oclock.

Mon. June 10   Beautiful day though rather cool in the morning.  Went to walk with Edie, Mary Means and Hattie up by Phillips A. at prayer time.  Of course we accomplished one object. 

The wedding of Mary Dove and Francis Howe Johnson on June 6, 1867 was one of Andover’s biggest social events of 1867, linking as it did members of prominent “Hill” and “Mill” families.   The ceremony at the Free Church (on Railroad Street) was officiated by Professor Austin Phelps, the groom’s brother-in law.  Mary Johnson, the groom’s sister, was Professor Phelps’ third wife.  She was the mother of his two youngest sons, and stepmother to his daughter, budding writer Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.  It is very probable that 23 year old Elizabeth attended the wedding (she admired and respected her stepmother and her family, and was included along with her half-brothers in their grandmother’s will).  Abby mentions that the weather was “intensely warm,” and that she wore that day a “barege,” or a dress made from a fashionable gauzy summer fabric.  



Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (20)

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Abby’s entries for May and June 1867 continue:

Winslow Homer's "Croquet Scene" (1866) - from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago

Tues, May 28   Went down to Mrs. Marland’s to play parlor croquet.  Miss Lizzie Punchard, Amasa Clarke and his dog were there.  Had a pleasant time.  Found W.F. at home.  He is going with Father to Richmond on Friday.

Wed. 29   Went to a speaking exercise at Phillips.  Had a nice time.  Saw Miss Palmer.  Mr. G escorted me home.  I like him so much.  Mr. Merriam and Babbitt got the prizes.  I thought Spaulding or Williams should have had it and they are from middle class.  G. is just as splendid as he can be.

Thurs. 30   Saw Mr. Gilmore three or four time to day.  Every time I come or go through town I see him.  Hattie came up after tea.

Fri. May 31   Rainy and unpleasant in the morning.  Cleared off in the afternoon.  Mr. Tyler and Mr. Gilmore called and made quite a long one for they staid till ½ past ten.  Willie Marland was in and Louise was down stairs when they came with W. and of course stayed. 

Sat. June 1Went over to L. in the morning to get a hat.  Went up to Mrs. Paine’s and she persuaded us to stay all day.  Willie Marland asked us to go to boat ride.  We told them we would like to go but mother got angry with us about H’s dress at the supper table and wouldn’t let us go.  Mr. Gilmore called for me while I was gone.  Willie Donald came up in the evening.

Sun. 2:  Went to church at No. Andover in the morning.  Rolled two curls up and in this morn. (Mon) When I took them down they were perfectly straight.  How I laughed.

Mon. June 3   Took a music lesson and took Monestery Bells.  It is old but one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever heard.  Louise, Edie and I took a short ride before tea and E. was up in the evening.

Rules for the modern game of croquet were standardized and published in both England and the United States during the 1860s, and until the game was eclipsed in the next decade by the growing popularity of tennis, croquet was the most popular social pastime among highly fashionable people on both sides of the Atlantic.  One of the game’s greatest attractions was that it could be played by men and women together, but this aspect also led to some criticism from social conservatives on the grounds that it was too strenuous for women, or that it led to immoral behavior.  The Andover Advertiser ran a mildly disapproving description of the game on January 18, 1867:  “[The game is] sort of mixture of billiards and cricket.  Add, with a flavoring of tenpins and attendant circumstances of a military skirmish, and you have it.  When my John wants to go making love, I am determined he shall do it without the intervention of croquet.”   Some people (perhaps Mrs. Marland among them) believed that the game’s indoor variations – Parlor Croquet, Table Croquet and Carpet Croquet – were more appropriate for women to play than the outdoor version.  But perhaps, Parlor Croquet was merely a way to entertain guests on a rainy day.  Abby’s hostess this day was either Mrs. William Marland who lived at the corner of Central and Chestnut Streets (in the house now called “Rose Cottage”) and had been during the Civil War one of the leaders of the Soldiers’ Aid Society or Mrs. John Marland, who was the mother of Abby’s friends Willie and Stewart.  Lizzie Punchard was the adopted daughter of Martha Marland Punchard (and thus the niece of both Mrs. Marlands), and Amasa Clark — the son of another Marland sister – their nephew.

The Andover Advertiser reported that 13 Phillips Academy students took part in the competition for the Draper Prizes, that Abby attended on May 29. “The judges were Rev. Charles Smith, Prof. E.C. Smyth and William G. Goldsmith.  The 20 dollar first prize was awarded to Alexander R. Merriam of Goshen, NY who recited a piece from Schiller entitled “The Battle” and the second prize of 10 dollars to George F. Babbitt of Barre, who recited a piece from Corneile, entitled “The Results of War.” 

And Abby’s piano assignment was probably the romantic “Nocurne Opus 54 – Les Cloches du Monastere” by French organist Louis Lefebure-Wely (1817-1869.  You can hear a nice rendition at .


Tea for two… or more – 1930s style!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Join us on
Wednesday, June 8
3:30 to 5:00 p.m
at the Andover Historical Society
97 Main Street, Andover, MA

Have a favorite little girl in your life that you would like to take to tea?

1930s Radio from the Historical Society's collection

Learn about what life was like for the American Girl Kit and young girls in local Andover during the Great Depression.  See collections from the 1930’s, learn to draw like her’s friend Stirling, and gather eggs like young girls did to help their families in the 1930s! Program for ages 7-11,  $15 per child and $10 per accompanying adult.  Reservations Required,  please call 978-475-2236, email or sign up online. Don’t forget to bring your favorite doll, too!