Happy New Year!

Happy New Year postcard, no date
Happy New Year postcard, no date

A Very Happy New Year

Another New Year’s day is due

And so today I send to you

A better wish than e’er before

Because you see, I like you more

Lovingly, Mary.

Source: Joseph Finney Collection

Laddie – A Christmas Story

Laddie convinces Santa, 1928
Laddie convinces Santa, 1928

In 1928, the first and second grade students in Elspeth Hardy’s class wrote a holiday story about a little dog named Laddie saving Christmas for his family. As Mrs. Hardy described the process, “The children worked collectively; one child started with an opening sentence, the others took the thought and followed on until the tale was finished.” Illustrated by Kingston High graduate Marion Cobb Dries, the book was published in November 1928.

Laddie will be featured at Storytime in the Children’s Room on Monday, Dec. 21 at 6:30 in a special reading by archivist Susan Aprill.

New Exhibit – Happy Holidays!

"To Greet You at X-mas," no date
"To Greet You at X-mas," no date

A beautiful batch of holiday mailers from the Loring Postcard Collection are now in the Local History exhibit case.  Stop by and take a look.

‘Tis the Season…

Sunday School Christmas, 1949
Sunday School Christmas, 1949

Christmas and Santa Claus are meant for children.  This Christmas party was  held in 1949 at the Beal House on Main Street for the Sunday School of the First Parish Church.  Frank Randall served as Santa and Helen Williams, the director of the Sunday School, stands to his right.  Some of the excited children have been identified.  Do you know any of them?

How times have changed: that is a REAL evergreen tree decorated for the holiday!

For your holiday viewing and shopping pleasure!

The Friends of the Kingston Public Library are offering a lovely set of notecards featuring 12 historic scenes of Kingston from the Local History Room.  Some larger prints of these photographs are on display in the lobby.  Please stop by, take a look and if you like, pick up a box of cards for the low, low price of $10.

Kingston passenger railroad station, no date.
Kingston passenger railroad station, no date.
Frederic C. Adams Library, 1908
Frederic C. Adams Library, 1908
The Holmes shipyard at the Landing, about 1890
The Holmes shipyard at the Landing, about 1890

Thanksgiving 1911

On November 29, 1911, Laura from Island Creek mailed this happy holiday card to Russell Loring here in Kingston.

"A Joyful Thanksgiving," about 1911

This year, I’m thankful that my turkey is home in the refrigerator, not gallivanting around town with some hot-rodding kid and a pile of fruit loot!

A joyful Thanksgiving to all!

Dog blog, with dancing!

Rocky Nook Pavilion, no date
Rocky Nook Pavilion, no date

I don’t know when it was or who they are — proud proprietors would be my best guess — but they’re standing in front of the Rocky Nook Pavilion.  Once located on Wharf Lane, this fine establishment offered “dancing every Saturday night.”

Cough syrup

From the collection of Jennie Mclauthlen, Kingston’s first Librarian.

Recipe for cough syrup, 1887


Raisin Pie. — One cup chopped raisins, two cups of water, one teaspon mixed spice, one cup cracker-crumbs, two cups sugar, one cup of vinegar, one-half cup butter, one beaten egge.  Boil and fill pies; bake three-quarters of an hour.

Cough Syrup.
One oz. flax-seed.
One oz. stick slippery elm.
One oz. thoroughwort.
One oz. hops.
One oz. black licorice.
Two quarts water — boil to a little less than one qt: strain and boil in a little more water, to get strength all out — strain again– ] add 1 pint of molasses.  Boil down to thickness of honey about 1 1/2 pints. When done, add 1 Table-spoon of whiskey.  Add the licorice after the herbs are boiled and strained.
Mrs. Whittemore.

Add 1/2 lb. loaf sugar

Archivist’s note: Feel free to make the raisin pie, but don’t make your own cough medicine at home from this recipe. That would be foolish.

A different kind of boat picture

Boat shop interior, no date
Boat shop interior, no date


This photograph just turned up in a recent donation to the Local History Room.  It has no date, no place, nothing beyond the image itself.  Context and best guesses, however, suggest that it dates to the late 19th century and shows the interior of one of the small boatyards on the Jones River.  Further, the vessel under construction very likely belonged to a member of the Holmes family.  More research may turn up additional information.  In the meantime, enjoy the unusual view.



Martin Parris & the Small-Pox

Martin Parris, no date
Martin Parris, no date

Who was Martin Parris?

One of Kingston’s first school teachers, Martin Parris was born in Pembroke in 1766.  He attended Brown University; in May 1794 the Kingston Selectmen hired him to teach school at an annual salary of seventy pounds.  That same year, he married Kingston native Julia Drew; they would eventually have three sons, all of whom predeceased them.  Parris taught in Kingston for about eight years, then continued teaching in Plymouth for several more.

In 1817, he was ordained as a minister of the First Congregational Church of Marshfield.  Though noted as an excellent teacher of good character, he appears to have been less successful in his second career, perhaps in part due to the deaths of two of his sons during his Marshfield tenure.  Parris retired in 1838 and returned to Kingston, where on November 15, 1839, he died of “old age and hiccoughs.” *

In 1792, he was inoculated against smallpox.

Certificate of 'inoculation' of Martin Parris by Ephraim Wales, 1792
Certificate of 'inoculation' of Martin Parris by Ephraim Wales, 1792

Braintree Oct.r 9th 1792
This certifies that Mr. Martin Parris, having received the Small-Pox at my hospital, is properly cleansed from the infection, and has paid the customary fees for inoculation, board and attendance.
Ephraim Wales

And who was Ephraim Wales?

Born on May 9, 1746, in the South Precinct of Braintree (later Randolph ), Ephraim Wales was “an eminent and successful doctor.” After graduating from Harvard College in 1768, he studied with Dr. Amos Putnam of Danvers, then returned to South Braintree to establish his medical practice.  He opened a smallpox hospital across South Main Street from his home, where in 1777 he inoculated Continental Army soldiers after General George Washington ordered all troops and recruits who had not had the disease to undergo the treatment.

A year earlier, the disease had struck the Army severely, part of an epidemic that affected the new country between 1775 and 1782 and killed an estimated 125,000 people. Though the first inoculations in North America dated to 1721, town residents opposed Wales’ hospital.  The disease had a frightening mortality rate and inoculation, also called variolation or insufflation, meant purposeful infection with a milder form of the disease to create immunity. A true vaccine would not be developed until 1796.

In 1793, Dr. Wales served on the committee that formed the town of Randolph from the South Precinct, and as the first town moderator. He also taught a number of medical students. He died April 7, 1805.


* Vital Records of Kingston Massachusetts to the Year 1850. (1911)

In the Pilgrim Way: History of the First Congregational Church, Marshfield, MA. by Linda Ramsey Ashley (2001)

“Old house isn’t as historic as was thought” by Fred Hanson. The Patriot Ledger, May 2, 2005

Contributions to the Annals of Medical Progress and Medical Education in the United States Before and During the War of Independence by Joseph Meredith Toner (1874; reprinted 1970)

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts. Edited by William Richard Cutter and William Frederick Adams (191 0)