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Chapter XIX

Current Events, Incidents and Happenings, Continued.

The Cook, Putnam and Company Furniture Factory.

In the fall of 1869, James W. Cook of Reading, Mass., and S. Abbott Putnam of Lynn, Mass., rented of Joseph A. Hall and Joseph W. Peterson, who were then its owners, the sawmill known as "Bailey's upper mill" and located on the east bank of the river a few rods below its outlet from the pond; and, having installed the necessary machinery, commenced therein the manufacturing of pine chamber sets and walnut lounge frames, under the firm name of Cook, Putnam and Company. The firm continued to carry on the business until 1874, when it was dissolved by the withdrawal from it of Mr. Putnam. July 21, of the same year, Messrs, Hall and Peterson sold the mill and appurtenances to James W. Cook and William H. Hall; who at once entered into partnership and, under the firm name of Cook, Hall and Company, resumed and continued to carry on the business of the old firm until Sept. 14, 1877; at which date Mr. Cook disposed of his entire interest in the plant to his partner, Mr. Hall, who thus became sole owner of the same. William H. Hall continued to operate the plant until Oct. 5, 1877; at which date he sold the same to Nathaniel Hobart and John S. Daniels. Under the firm name of Hobart and Daniels, the new owners of the plant carried on the business until the 7th day of February, 1885; at which date Daniels withdrew from the firm, and sold out his interest in the mill and its appurtenances to David H. Kendall, Henry S. Manning, Charles W. Hughes, and Horace S. Richmond. The new owners of Mr. Daniel's one half part of the plant immediately entered into co-partnership with Nathaniel Hobart, who still continued to own the other half, and, under the firm name of Hobart, Kendall and Company, continued the business.

Hobart, Kendall and Company.

The new firm installed new and improved machinery in the mill, and endeavored by every legitimate means to improve its business. It was so far successful in its efforts that in 1889, four years after its formation. its affairs were in a most prosperous condition, and its outlook for the future excellent.

Up to the year 1879, the company had manufactured pine and walnut furniture only; which was shipped in "the rough" to purchasers. But, in the meantime, the public had been developing a taste for chestnut chamber furniture in place of pine. By the year 1879 this sentiment had grown to the extent that the demand for furniture of the latter description had almost entirely ceased. Under these circumstances, the firm gave up the use of pine as a factor in its business, and commenced the manufacture of finished chestnut chamber sets only. It met with immediate success in its new enterprise; and its business increased to the extent that it was forced to enlarge its plant by building a finishing and packing shop thirty by seventy-eight feet in its dimensions, and two stories in height; and equip the same with a new engine and new machinery.

At that time the firm was employing from forty to fifty men; nearly all of whom were skilled mechanics from out of town who brought their families here with them. The churches had good congregations every Sunday and the merchants were prosperous. It was a happy state of affairs for the town and its people. Too good to last.

In a few years the supply of chestnut lumber, at least such as was located within reasonable hauling distance of the mill, had become practically exhausted. Oak, ash and sycamore were substituted in its place. But the additional cost of procuring these woods, together with the expense incurred by the company by hauling its manufactured products to and from Pepperell or Townsend for railroad shipment, and the sharp competition of western furniture manufacturers, finally compelled the firm to go out of business; and, in 1886, it assigned its plant and business to Albert L. Fessenden and John Buffum, to be held by them in trust for the benefit of its creditors.

At the time of the failure, Nathaniel Hobart was the only monied member of the firm. Consequently nearly the whole burden of the firm's indebtedness fell upon his shoulders, and he lost heavily.

The failure of the firm was a severe blow to the town, and one from which it has not recovered even to the present time.

Samaritan Commandery No. 96, United Order of the Golden Cross. 1880.

This Commandery was organized in Brookline February 23, 1880. Its charter members were Dr. Alonzo S. Wallace, Mrs. Mary F. Wallace, Rev. Frank D. Sargent, Edward T. Hall, Emily M. Hall, David H. Kendall, Sophia R. Kendall, Emma S. Sargent, William J. Smith, and Mrs. Mary E. Smith.

First Board of Officers.

Past Noble Commander,   Alonzo S. Wallace.
Noble Commander,   David H. Kendall.
Vice-Noble Commander,   Mary E. Smith.
Prelate,   Rev. F. D. Sargent.
Worthy Herald,   Edward T. Hall.
Noble Keeper of Records,   C. T. Pressey.
Financial Keeper of Records,   Emma S. Sargent.
Treasurer,   William J. Smith.
Warder of the Inner Gates,   Sophia R. Kendall.
Warder of the Outer Gates,   Perley L. Pierce.

From the date of its organization to the present time (1914) the commandery has held its meetings in the vestry of the Congregational Church.

During the years of its existence it has enjoyed continuous prosperity, and its     rolls have borne the names of many of the town's most influential citizens--its membership at one time reaching ninety-two members. Of those who, since its organization, have been among the number of its members ten have died; as follows: Jefferson Whitcomb, George E. Stiles, Emily M. Hall, Lenora M. Nye, Joseph A. Hall, Julia F. Dunbar, David H. Kendall, Helen I. Hoitt, Georgia A. Shattuck, and Samuel Swett; and many others have removed from town. At the present time (1914) the organization has a membership of twenty-seven of whom sixteen are nonresidents.

Names of Members, March 18, 1914.

Edward T. Hall,
Clara A. Fessenden,
Dr. Charles H. Holcombe,
Ella H. Nye,
John D. Hobart,
Herbert J. Hall,
Clara G. Kennedy,
John E. Silvernail,
James C. Douglass,
Perley L. Pierce,
Albert T. Pierce,
Clintina A. Holcombe,
Annie M. Gilson,
Edwin A. Shattuck,
Ada M. Hall,
Albert B. Eaton,
Byron D. Pease,
David S. Fessenden,
Hattie F. Pierce,
George H. Nye,
Fred E. French,
Grace E. Pierce,
Frank P. Kennedy,
Flora J. Eaton,
George Sargent.

1877. In the matter of the proposed amendments to the State's Constitution which had been agreed upon by the members of the Constitutional Convention of 1876, and which were this year submitted to the voters of the state for their approval, or otherwise, Brookline voted tostrike out the word "Protestant" from the Bill of Rights; in favor of biennial elections of the Governor, counsellors, members of the senate and house of Representatives; in favor of a house of Representatives whose number should be based upon the state's population; and in favor of abolishing the religious test.

March 23, Frank Hobart, a son of David Hobart, while working in the woods, was killed by a falling tree.

June 17, the Ephraim L. Hardy house on the east side of the highway to Pepperell, Mass., one mile south of the village, was burned to the ground.

July 6, the dwelling house of Fernando Bailey on the summit of the hill back of the Congregational church was destroyed by fire.

August 7, Daniel S. Wetherbee died of exhaustion resulting from an exposure of 26 days without food or shelter in the woods in the notherly part of the town.

August 17, an infant daughter of William H. French was scalded to death. 

September , the cooper shop of J. Alonzo Hall on the east side of the highway to Milford, a few rods north of the Congregational church, was totally destroyed by fire.  

Memorial Day--Observances of--

For many years prior to 1886 the town made annual appropriations of money to be expended in decorating the graves of its deceased veteran soldiers in the War of the Rebellion. But during this period the exercises attendant upon the performance of this duty were informal, and unattended with martial pomp or display.

In 1886, however, as the result of a citizen's movement in that direction, the town for the first time observed Memorial Day in a formal manner.

The exercises were under the management of Post 30, Grand Army of the Republic, of Hollis; an organization to which many of Brookline's Veterans at that time belonged. The ceremonies were very simple. A procession, consisting of one hundred and fifty citizens on foot, and as many more in carriages was formed on Main street; from whence, headed by the West Townsend, Mass., Cornet Band, it marched to the south cemetery. On arriving at the cemetery, the exercises consisted of singing by a local choir, and brief remarks by the reverends Frank D. Sargent and A. B. Russell, and members of the Post. At the conclusion of the exercises the living comrades decorated the graves of the dead, and the assemblage quietly dispersed.

The following year, 1887, the exercises attendant upon the day's observance were more formal in their character. The anniversary of the day that year fell on Sunday, and for that reason its obesrvance was placed for Saturday, May 29.

The exercises for the day were in charge of the following officers and committee of arrangements: President of the day, George E. Stiles; Vice-President, James H. S. Tucker; Chief Marshal, George W. Bridges; Aids, Samuel Swett, Alpha A. Hall.

Committee of Arrangements.

Rev. Frank D. Sargent, James H. S. Tucker, George W. Bridges, Samuel Swett, Daniel Kendall, George E. Stiles, Albert W. Corey, Walter F. Rockwood, Edward C. Tucker, Ira Daniels, Frank L. Willoby, Mrs. Frank L. Willoby, H. W. Seaver, Mrs. H. W. Seaver, Imla M. Williams, Mrs. Imla M. Williams, Charles N. Corey, Mrs. Nathaniel Hobart.

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