The Local History Room recently received a trove of old ledgers from H. K. Keith & Co. These hand-written record books track inventory in the general store, customer accounts and daily sales, like this apparently busy Saturday exactly 153 years ago today.
It appears that the column between the item and the price is a code for the purchaser’s account.
Henry Kingman Keith (1826-1909) was born in North Bridgewater and spent some time in Duxbuy, but lived most of his adult life in Kingston.
In 1847, he married Vesta Snell Cary (1827-1903).
Keith built his general store in Kingston in 1848, just three years after the Old Colony Railroad first drove through town.
The store was a success, and would thrive under a variety of owners and retail formats: Lewis H. Keith, Henry and Vesta’s son; Burges and Keith; Burges and Bailey; Toabe Hardware; Kingston Hardware; Crossroads Liquor; Trackside Liquor (and possibly more).
The building has been enlarged and lowered and added-onto; here’s a more recent look.
This is the Reverend Augustus Russell Pope (1819-1855), minister of Kingston’s First Parish Church, or as it was then known, First Congregational Society, from 1844 to 1849. The biographical piece linked above lauds Pope’s work in Kingston, particularly his work with the Town’s schools.
This is Lucy Ann Meacham Pope (1820-1870), the Reverend’s wife, who was originally from Cambridge. They married in 1843, just after his ordination.
So, portraits of a couple who briefly lived in Kingston and a later photo of their house: is there more to this story? Why, yes, there is.
It’s always helpful to have full names and important dates for the people in the pictures; since neither of the Pope was a native Kingstonian, some research was required. That process produced an interesting scrap of a much larger history. A few years after Pope left Kingston for a ministry in Somerville, he received Patent Number 9,802 for “Improvement in Electro-Magnetic Alarms.”
And as sometimes happens when deep in the research, a clerihew popped out.
Gave us all hope
And saved us from harm
With his burglar alarm.
Sources: Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slides IC4; Massachusetts Historical Commission/ MACRIS Digital Photographs IC13