The quarterly meeting of the Norwood Historical Society was held recently at the Day House, opening with a box supper on the porch which was followed by a short business meeting and then bv an indoor meeting at which each member exhibited his ‘’most interesting possession” and told the story that went with it. Later in the evening the Board of Governors of the Historical Society met and voted to have the Day House grounds suffering from a shortage of help during the war gone over.
President of the society Mrs. S Kenneth Skofieid of Brookline formerly of Norwood showed her most interesting possession, an old “courting lamp ’’ first. A tiny perhaps three inches in diameter and two inches in height gas-burning lamp, over a hundred years old, it was supposedly lighted when a young man went to call, and when the lamp had burned its brief light, the caller was expected to leave Only, said Mrs. Skofield she understood that they “didn’t always.”
Mrs. Nellie M Gillooly of Walpole Street corresponding secretary prefaced the presentation of her most interesting possession by showing a picture of its creator her great aunt, Martha Guild who ran the first private school in Norwood. situated on Washington Street where Mazzolas Norwood Monument Works now are. The youngest daughter of Aaron Guild of Revolutionary War fame, Miss Guild taught school until she was forty-five years old and then married a blind minister. Rev Caleb Kimball At the age of eleven she made an intricately embroidered petticoat utilizing an embroidery stitch taught her by a convent school nun. It was this petticoat with its intricate and faultless embroidery that Mrs. Gillooly exhibited. She also showed the group a large, triangular lace shawl of black Chantilly lace, which is over ninety years old.
A book. “Raising Hell’s Delights.” a compilation of Hoyle and Everett family letters compiled by Mr. Alexander Edward Hoyle, a partner of Cram and Ferguson. Boston Architects was displayed by Miss Harriet Gay of Winter Street who is related to the Hoyles on her mother’s side. She explained the source of the title. It seems that her great grandfather Mark C. Hoyle (also the grandfather of Mr. W W Everett) was. as a boy, walking one evening in the Hoyle garden, which was separated from the street by a tall hedge. It was about nine o clocks in the evening when most of Norwood was respectably quiet. Some of the younger Hoyles, however, were indoors and ot seems, between piano playing and singing and shouting, were far from inarticulate. Two gentlemen walked down the street at this point, and, as they passed the Hoyle hedge, one asked the other what all the noise was about “Oh nothing.’ the other replied “only the Hoyles raising hell’s delights”. The letters contained in the book date from the Mexican War to 1890.
Next in order around the room. Mr W W Everett member of the Historical Society Board of Governors, exhibited a one-hundred-fifty-year-old child’s whistle. The whistle was originally given to his sister Cora E Everett and bears a tag written in flawless script, which reads as follows “Cora E Everetts great grandfather’s whistle given to him when four years old by his uncle, Daniel Belknap to hire him to go to school. Given to Cora when she was 16 months old by her great grandpa Belknap in his 71st year’.
Mrs. Everett also showed the group an advertising token, probably dating about 1840, advertising “brushes, perfumery, combs.” etc.. by wholesale or retail” which looks like a coin or pocket piece of her childhood home in the Berkshires.
An old coffin tray which she once rescued from under the attic eaves just as it was ready to be thrown out for junk was presented by Mrs. Alfred Atwood of 6 Philbrick Street, Day House chairman protem. The coffin tray, she explained. is so named, because in the old days, coffins used to be octagonal shaped. When coffin fashions changed, some of the old coflinmakers took to making trays, and the treys somehow turned out octagonal, as is hers. The original design on the tray was completely worn off, so it has been redecorated in gold, by Mrs. Muriel Brock. The Coffin trays and the Chippendale are the two oldest types of trays.
Miss Ruth Ingraham of 417 Washington Street had two programs, one for entertainment, and one for a concert dated 1831 and 1891 respectively, to show the gathering ‘Setting a Hen.’ a story by Fred H Day was among the features on the first, while the following footnotes were found on the second “N B.—Any old ladies whose foot warmers need fresh coals can get them from Parson Loder’s kitchen, as his women folks will keep up a big fire on purpose ‘ and “N B.—All those which are so much blessed to have good lungs and religious training are expected to stand up and help sing the last hymne “
A white, translucent Chinese vase with rose blue and gold flowers that was over a hundred years old and which after a devious course of ownership finally arrived in the hands of her grandmother was displayed by Miss Freida Formcan of Washington Street while Miss Helga Paterson of Marion avenue exhibited a leaf, preserved and colored (orange) in China, which is used as a book marker.
President of the national Upham Family Society and member of the Historical Society Board of Gov’s, Mr William Upham of Marion Avenue, showed society members a picture of the Upham family house in Belmont which was built in 1703. The Upham Family Society is restoring the house and plans to make it into a national memorial to James B Upham, author of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag. A facsimile of the first newspaper ever printed, the Boston News Letter, was exhibited by Mrs Upham, also a Board of Governors members, while Mrs. Albin Parker of Day Street presented two cups both over a hundred years old. One was of bronze lustreware, a lost art.
An old sampler going back to the record of his great-grandfather, who was born in 1782. was displayed by Mr. Parker, custodian of the Day House. Intricately worked the sampler contained the record of the birth and death of some of Mr Parker’s ancestors, and. of his grandmother, said.
(All articles originally appeared in the Norwood Messenger unless otherwise noted)