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Archive for the ‘Newton MA’ Category

In September 1774 the farmers of Middlesex County rose up and ended royal government in most of Massachusetts. For the next seven months, Patriot activists and the British governor raced to seize artillery. Cannon disappeared from ships, shore batteries and even armories under redcoat guard. In Newton, citizens voted to form their own artillery company. Join John Bell, author of The Road to Concord, as he uncovers the hidden history that led to the Revolutionary War. The program is cosponsored by Historic Newton. A book signing will follow. [From the Newton Free Library’s online Calendar of Events.]

From the publisher of The Road to Concord:

“Here is the suspenseful story of how a handful of mechanics in 1774 smuggled Boston’s brass cannon out of town from under the noses of the British troops. J. L. Bell is a historical detective par excellence who has recovered an important, little-known episode of the onset of the American Revolution.” —Alfred F. Young, author The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution

“In this well-researched narrative, Mr. Bell provides an interesting twist on the usual account of the British march to Concord on April 18-19, 1775. Mr. Bell’s retelling of the story from the point of view of missing cannon demonstrates in a compelling and convincing manner why General Gage was especially anxious that his troops reach Concord.”—Patrick M. Leehey, Research Director, Paul Revere House, Boston

In the early spring of 1775, on a farm in Concord, Massachusetts, British army spies located four brass cannon belonging to Boston’s colonial militia that had gone missing months before. British general Thomas Gage had been searching for them, both to stymie New England’s growing rebellion and to erase the embarrassment of having let cannon disappear from armories under redcoat guard. Anxious to regain those weapons, he drew up plans for his troops to march nineteen miles into unfriendly territory. The Massachusetts Patriots, meanwhile, prepared to thwart the general’s mission. There was one goal Gage and his enemies shared: for different reasons, they all wanted to keep the stolen cannon as secret as possible. Both sides succeeded well enough that the full story has never appeared until now.

The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War by historian J. L. Bell reveals a new dimension to the start of America’s War for Independence by tracing the spark of its first battle back to little-known events beginning in September 1774. The author relates how radical Patriots secured those four cannon and smuggled them out of Boston, and how Gage sent out spies and search parties to track them down. Drawing on archives in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, the book creates a lively, original, and deeply documented picture of a society perched on the brink of war.

J. L. BELL is the proprietor of Boston1775.net, a popular website dedicated to the history of the American Revolution in New England. A Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and American Antiquarian Society, he is author of the National Park Service’s study of George Washington’s work in Cambridge, and has delivered papers to the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Organization of American Historians, and historic sites around greater Boston.

From The Curious Genealogist: Take a minute to click on the link to Bell’s blog Boston 1775 in green directly above.  If you have any interest in history or Boston, you’ll probably be staying far longer than a minute. It will be time well spent.

vea/6 July 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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flyer-for-blog-jgsgb

Flyer done the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston. Click JGSGB to see more information and a list of their programs.

vea/15 November 2016/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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The Newton War Memorial was dedicated on Armistice Day, 11 November 1931, to honor all those in the military who served, who fought, and who died to protect our country’s freedoms. The following photographs depict parts of that ongoing memorial.

DSC01752 front

The Entrance to Newton’s War Memorial

 

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The Vietnam War was fought from November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975.

DSC06240

 

The Korean War was fought from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.

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World War II  was fought from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945. The United States entered the war on December 8, 1941.

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The conflicts before World War II are represented by dioramas.

 

World War I was fought from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918. The United States formally declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

DSC06232“Somewhere in France” 1917 – 1918

 

The War Between the States was fought from the firing on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 to Lee’s surrender to Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

DSC06237Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863

 

The War of 1812 was fought from June 18, 1812 to February 18, 1815.

DSC06229The American Constitution vs. the British Guerriere on August 19, 1812

 

The Revolutionary War was fought from April 19, 1775 to September 3, 1783.

DSC06245Valley Forge, the Winter of 1777 to 1778

 

DSC02075 flags horizontal pixThe MIA and American Flags, Still Flying, in Front of the War Memorial

 

vea/26 May 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

 

 

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The Durant-Kenrick Homestead" October 2012Historic Newton is so committed to helping you preserve your family’s unique history that they want to help. Do you have family photos, slides, documents, or movies that are precious to you? Do you wish to understand what is needed to protect them so they will be available for future generations? Then you will want to come to the Durant-Kenrick House at 286 Waverly Avenue in Newton on Tuesday, November 17th at 7:00. At that time Hisoric Newton will be presenting two very knowledgeable speakers on this topic.

Eric Niloff, owner of EverPresent, will explain the services that his company Picture from Historic Newton on Saving Family Historyoffers.  His business is based on helping people share their family history. Included will be a variety of formats. He will also answer questions about how best to organize these cherished family heirlooms and build a digital preservation plan.

Sara Goldberg, Historic Newton’s own archivist, will guide you in the care of the originals once they have been digitized and returned to you.  She will help you understand what can to done to help these truly irreplaceable family keepsakes stand the test of time.

vea/3 November 2015
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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1891 Newton City Directory with Container Plus Separate MapThe picture to the left shows the easy way of accessing city directories.  You request the book. It gets delivered to you. You look up what you need.  When you go online, it can be a whole different story.  I had a patron last month who asked me to show him how to actually search and print out information from our online city directories.  It was not easy.

As regular readers of this blog know, I do not remember how to do anything technological if I haven’t used a particular process for several months (or a shorter time if it’s complicated). Nobody has the time to keep reinventing the wheel.  So early on I devised a system where I took screenshots of what I was doing and added instructions.  (A good filing system helps here, whether hard copy or online.) So this is what I did to remind myself how to work with the city directories.  If I need it, I figure some of you could use the help, too.

Below I give two links.  The first is a link to the Newton City Directories that are online.  The second is to my instructions for dealing with digitized city directories.  Be patient. I may take a couple of minutes to come up.  It is a pdf, so you should be able to print it out if you like to work from hard copy.

Click here for the digitized Newton City Directories.

Click here for Searching and Printing Historic City Directories Using the City of Newton Website.

If the above instructions do not work for the digitized city directories of other cities or towns, let me know, along with a link to those city directories.

vea/25 November 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

 

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SummerofSharing

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On Monday, October 29th at 7:00 pm, the Newton Free Library will be hosting Joe Hunter’s documentary “The Durant-Kenrick Homestead: A House with Many Stories” in the Druker Auditorium. The house, located at 286 Waverly Avenue in Newton, is an historical gem.

In 1732 Edward Durant II bought 91 acres of land in Newton. The land had once been the location of the village of the Praying Indians of Nonantum. Here Durant built a large, salt-box type home in the Georgian style in 1732. One of its unique features was its hand-painted stenciled floors.

The home, today known as the Durant-Kenrick Homestead, has seen a great deal of local, state and national history.  Its second owner, Edward Durant III, was elected as Chairman of the Committee of Correspondence in 1774.  He was also a delegate to the Provincial Congress where, according to the King’s Handbook of Newton, he “delighted in twisting the British lion’s tail with speeches and resolutions.”  Two of his sons, Thomas and Allen, were both Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington and a third son, Edward, was a regimental surgeon.

After Edward died in 1782, the home was sold to John Kenrick, a noted horticulturalist.  In 1790 Kenrick founded the first large nursery in New England here, starting with pear trees that were raised from the stones (seeds or pits). His son William became a partner in 1833.  Among William’s sources for the nursery were imports from the London Horticultural Society.  He wrote the nursery’s first catalog and later authored “The New American Orchardist” and “The American Silk-Grower’s Guide.” Plants and trees from the Kenrick nursery were shipped throughout America.

John Kenrick, besides being the well known horticulturalist noted above, was also a committed abolitionist.  In this area he was a man before his time.  In 1817 he published the “Horrors of Slavery,” with it’s preface dated “Newton.” He was President of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society.

Between 1872 and 1903 parcels of land were sold off in various land transactions.  By the time Arthur S. Dewing bought the home in 1923, the remaining land was approximately 2 acres. Dewing was a descendant of the original Durant owners. He restored the property. The home was included in the National Register in 1976. The Durant Homestead was established in 1985.  The property was acquired by the City of Newton in 2011.

This is less than a thumb nail sketch of the history of the house and its people.  Take a look at the links below for more detailed information.

Article and Blog Links

 The Durant-Kenrick House and Property “A Brief Landscape History by Lucinda A. Brockway

Painting the Durant Kenrick House.

18th-Century home to be restored by Historic Newton” by Susan Danseyar.  Newton Tab, 13 April 2010.

Boston 1775: “Dig at the Durant-Kenrick Homestead” By J. L. Bell,     11 November 2011

Digging Up History: Archeologists Explore 18th-Century Life through Finds at Newton Site” by Taryn Plumb.  Boston Globe, 27 November 2011.

Boston 1775: “Howe Explores the Durant-Kenrick House in Newton” by J. L. Bell, 7 April 2012

Stenciling from the floor of the Durant-Kenrick House Lives On: Edward Durant Floorcloths

Durant-Kenrick Homestead: Community Preservation Project – City of Newton

Resources Not on the Internet

King’s Handbook of Newton, Massachusetts by M. F. Sweetser. Boston, MA: Moses King Corporation, 1889. pp. 106-110.  N 974.44N S97H

“Capt. Durant House in National Register.” Newton Tribune. 9 June 1976. p. 20

Newton, Massachusetts, 1679-1779: A Biographical Directory. Compiled by Priscilla R. Ritter and Thelma Fleishman.  Boston, MA: The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1982. N 929.2 1982

Landmark Study for the Durant-Kenrick Homestead. Compiled by Rachel Gakenheimer. May 7, 1997. 10pp plus maps and illustrations.  Includes genealogy. N 917.444 N48DU (Compact Shelving).

vea/26 October 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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