Old Residents Give Their Versions Of Incidents In His Stories
The following interesting letter comes to Win Everett from Mr. James R. Vance. Also some pertinent comments from Miss Sarah F. Gay on his articles Mr. Everett says that all such corrections in no way hurt his feelings and are the best way to get historical facts straightened out. Mr. Vance’s story about the Universalist church steeple is a fine illustration of the value of evidence. Three people – himself, Charlie Hay ford, and Dr. Fogg all saw the same thing, the fall or a Brent blazing steeple. And each saw it fall in a different way!
n next Tuesday’s Messenger Win Everett will try to lay “The Ghost of a Tiot Tavern.” He has discovered Norwood’s first inn and has attempted to put the faint and scattered memories .of it together like a jig-saw puzzle.
The letters follow:
Norwood, Oct. 23, 1934.
Dear Mr. Everett:
I have been very much interested in your history of Norwood. What prompted me to write was the description of the fire which destroyed the Unlvcrsaist church and especially the fall of the steeple. Some time ago Harvey Hayford’s son, who was at that time a boy, in writing about it said that he was standing in front watching the steeple expecting to see it fall, but instead of falling over sidewise, it went vertically into its base. These are not his words but as I understood them In your article Oct. 16 you spoke of it as “falling forward into the square” and I wondered how two persons looking at the same thing and from about the same place could see it so differently, but wait, I saw it too, and mine is different from theirs.
I stood just- across the street from the church and far enough South to see that side of the church and also the front, and as I expected to see the steeple fall I was watching it and wondering if it would hit the house which stood at the south corner of the church lawn where now stands the brick building from which the post office was moved recently, for the wind was blowing in that direction, but when it started to go it went vertically part way then toppled over in the direction I have indicated and there I saw it as it ay on the grass but did not reach the house. Perhaps I should say that was what I thought I saw.
I attended services In the old Congregational church at Winslow station Rev. Ellis Mendell was the minister and Mr. F. O. Winslow was superintendent of Sunday school. Frank Draper played the organ and Austin Boyden pumped the air for It. I heard the last sermon there and the first one in the new I was at the laying of the cornerstone of the new and the dedication of it. I remember the Rev. Mr. Heath of New Bedford who preached the dedication sermon and his text was from the first chapter of Romans. 16th verse.
I will just say that I have many precious memories of the past in that church, of the people who attended there, and of ministers who preached the Gospel of Christ.
JAMES R. VANCE
15 Beacon Ave., Norwood
Norwood, Oct. 22, 1934.
Boyden’s Tavern, which you referred to, was property bought by my father (Fisher Gay) in 1844. My brother and I were born there. Besides the part on “Shinbone Alley,” the remaining part stood just about where the townhouse is. It was used for a laundry. Not many years ago there were bay windows added and it was used for a store. It was then pulled down to make room for improvements. I was glad to read the correct name of the first minister of the church. Don’t you think it was 1884 that the church burned? (Ed. Yes. it was. That was a typographical error.) Mr. and Mrs. Keim had Just come to room in our house. They went to the dedication of the new Cong, (church?). The night of the fire was not so very cold, but there was a good deal of wind which took brands onto Guild street. There was quite a snowstorm which no doubt prevented quite a serious conflagration, as there were 17 buildings on fire at one time. Rafe and Carrie (Hoyle) I didn’t know anything about it until morning. I took two shallow drawers full of materials, etc. from Dr. Loveland’s office and carried them up to our house. When Mrs. aul Ellis went to make Frank’s bed she couldn’t find the clothes. They were In the same place. When Allen Talbott took the drawers home he said he didn’t see how I carried them. And the Baptist “History” states It was Union Hall. But the Deacon is not infallible.)
I have a crayon portrait of father that there seems to be no place for and I wonder if the Historical Society would like it. He was Fisher Gay and took a vital interest In the town. He was justice of the peace ever since I can remember, an ardent prohibitionist and beloved by everyone. Have just been reading over your history and am sure you are mistaken about the dedication of the Universalist church in Dec. 1886 The first service was held before the dedication and after that, there was a wedding. (Ed The program of the centennial celebration of the church says that the cornerstone was laid on Sent. 21. 1885.)
SARAH F. GAY.
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