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Chapter XXI

Brookline's Centennial Celebration, Sept. 8, 1869.

By the year 1868 the work of readjustment of the town's affairs, while it was by no manner of means to be regarded as even near completion, had, nevertheless, progressed so satisfactorily that the citizens had regained confidence in themselves and in their resources, and were ready to engage in the work of preparing for the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of the town, which was due to occur on the 30th day of March the following year, 1869.

The first action of the town relative to the celebration was taken at a town meeting holden Nov. 3, 1868, when Alonzo Bailey, James H. Hall, Henry K. Kemp, Henry B. Stiles, Wilkes W. Corey, and Joseph A. Hall were elected as a committee--"To consider the advisability of the town's celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of its incorporation."

At a subsequent meeting in the same year, this committee reported in favor of a celebration, but on account of the inclemency of the weather usual in the season in which the event properly fell, suggested the advisability of deferring it to some date in the fall of the year. After some discussion, the report was accepted; and, under the designation of "Committee of Arrangements," the same committee was re-elected with full power to make all necessary preparations for the celebration, and to select the day for the same, which it subsequently set for the 8th day of September, 1869.

No appropriation for defraying the expenses was made by the town. Nor, after that recorded in the last of the two foregoing mentioned town meetings, was any further action relative to the same taken by the town as such; except that at a meeting of the citizens Nov. 9, 1869, a committee consisting of James Clinton Parker, Wilkes W. Corey, William G. Shattuck, Henry K. Kemp, and Joseph A. Hall was appointed "To publish the Centennial Proceedings." For some unknown reason this committee failed to act; and thus no official report of the celebration was ever published.

The funds necessary for paying the expenses of the celebration were raised by subscriptions from the citizens. Over one thousand dollars were raised and expended by the committee of arrangements; and, as the result of its efforts, the advent of the day found the old town fully and amply prepared not only to welcome its absent sons and daughters, but also to welcome and suitably entertain the strangers who gathered within its gates.

Hundreds of its living absent sons and daughters and of the descendants of its early settlers took the opportunity to return and revisit the scenes amidst which they or their parents had passed the happy days of childhood; and, by their presence, assist in doing appropriate honors to a town whose simple history and homely traditions have always endeared it to the hearts of its children.

The morning of the day of the celebration broke with signs of rain. But by seven o'clock the skies had partially cleared off, and through the rifts in the clouds the sunlight shone on the gray mists climbing the sides of Little Muscatanipus hill; a condition of affairs which from time immemorial has been regarded by the townspeople as an almost unfailing sign of fair weather. Nor did the sign fail in this instance.

At nine o'clock a procession was formed in the square in front of the store, then of J. A. Hall and Brother, at the west end of the village Main street, as follows:

Chief Marshal and Aids,

Brookline Brass Band,

Committee of Arrangements,

The President of the Day, Orator, Poet, and Chaplain,

Vice-presidents,

The Rev. Clergy, Invited Guests, Representatives of the Press and Others,

The Choir,

Citizens of Brookline,

Citizens at Large.

From the square the procession, headed by the band and escorted by the town's soldiers in the War of the Rebellion, marched to the summit of the hill back of the Congregational Church where, in the natural amphitheatre formed by a hollow or depression in the surrounding land, and known locally as the "Devil's punch bowl," the literary exercises of the day were observed. Three sides of the amphi-theatre had been fitted up with seats for the accommodation of the audience; which, when the exercises opened, was estimated to consist of more than three thousand people. The other side was occupied by a large and commodious platform profusely decorated with flags and flowers, upon which were seated the aged people of the town, the Brookline Brass Band, a large choir organized from the native talent and under the leadership of Charles N. Merrill of Nashua, the invited guests and the following named officers of the day:

President, Alonzo Bailey.

Vice-presidents: Captain Franklin McDonald, Capt. Joseph Hall, Joseph Smith, Henry K. Kemp, Major Wilkes W. Corey, Alpheus Shattuck, Newton W. Colburn, William J. Smith, Andrew Rockwood, James H. Hall, Joseph Sawtelle, W. G. Shattuck.

Chief Marshal, J. Alonzo Hall.

Aids: (???) Joseph W. Peterson, Nathaniel Hobart, William Wright, Edward T. Hall.

Committee of Reception: Benjamin Gould, Henry B. Stiles, Reuben Baldwin.

Toastmaster, James Clinton Parker.

Secretary, Charles A. Priest.

Town Committee: Alonzo Bailey, James H. Hall, W. W. Corey, Henry K. Kemp, J. Alonzo Hall.

The Public Drinking Fountain.

At the same meeting, March 11, Charles W. Smith, David Hobart and Charles N. Corey were elected as a committee to enquire into the cost of erecting a public drinking fountain in the square at the west end of Main Street near the store of James H. S. Tucker. At the March meeting of the following year this committee reported; and, upon considering the report, the meeting passed the following vote;--"To establish as a common such part of the triangle near J. H. S. Tucker's store as is necessary for the purpose, and to improve the same by placing thereon a public drinking fountain. Also to appropriate a sum not exceeding one hundred and seventy-five dollars to make such improvements and to furnish the water for the same." At the same time the committee of the previous year was re-elected, under the title of "Trustees of the drinking fountain," with power to carry the vote into effect.

In the summer of 1892 the board of trustees erected the bronze drinking fountain at the present time standing upon the square at the west end of the village Main street, and at the same time constructed the reservoir which supplies it with water, at an expense to the town, including the cost of the fountain, of four hundred and odd dollars.

Brookline Grange No. 211.

1894. "Brookline Grange No. 211 P. of H. was organized March 14, 1894. The Hillsboro Co. Pomona Grange records give the following events which preceded its organization:

'At a Pomona Grange meeting held at Goffstown Feb. 7, 1894, Brookline was presented as a favorable field for the organization of a subordinate Grange. George Tarbell of Milford, Andrew H. Spalding of Hollis and George A. Wason of Nashua were appointed a committee to go to Brookline and investigate and report, and Pomona Grange voted to hold a public meeting there providing the citizens were willing to have them do so.

This committee reported at the next Pomona meeting held at Mason, Feb. 27, that the citizens of Brookline would gladly receive them at an early date. They voted to hold said meeting March 7. On that date a load of enthusiastic patrons came over from Milford and in all there were one hundred and ten present. And all arrangements were made to organize a Grange in Brookline. David D. and Martha A. Rockwood at this time became interested, and they kindled the fire of enthusiasm for the organization of a Grange among the citizens of Brookline, and they ever remained true and loyal to the end of life.

The record of the first meeting, on the night of the organization of Brookline Grange is as follows:

Brookline, N. H., March 14, 1894.

Agreeable to a previous notice a meeting was held in the small vestry of the Congregational church, on the evening of March 14, 1894, for the purpose of considering the question of organizing a Grange ,there being present several of the citizens of the town, and E. C. Hutchinson of Milford, Sec. and Special Deputy of the N. H. State Grange, H. O. Hadley of Temple, District Deputy of the N. H. State Grange for district No. 10, A. H. Spalding, Master of Hollis Grange, and a few other patrons of neighboring Granges. A petition was presented containing the following names, who were the charter members of the Grange: Joseph A. Hall, Mrs. Eliza A. Hobart, Charles A. Stickney, Mrs. Clara A. Stickney, Mrs. Susie E. French, Miss Abbie F. Barrett, Clarence R. Russell, Mrs. Clara E. Russell, Hattie S. Williams, David S. Fessenden, David D. Rockwood, Mrs. Ella F. Rockwood, William B. Rockwood, Mrs. Etta E. Rockwood, George H. Kendall, Mrs. Alice Kendall, Mrs. Mary F. Barber, Martin A. Rockwood, Mrs. Mary E. Rockwood, David Hobart and William J. Bailey; and the requisite fee having been paid by each, they were presented at the Altar and obligated as Patrons of Husbandry by State deputy E. C. Hutchinson.

Proceeded to the election of officers resulting in the choice of the following: Master, David D. Rockwood; Overseer, Clarence R. Russell; Lecturer, Mrs. Susie E. French; Steward, David Hobart; Ass't. Steward, William J. Bailey; Chaplain, Joseph A. Hall; Treasurer, Martin A. Rockwood; Secretary, David S. Fessenden; Gate Keeper, George H. Kendall; Ceres, Mrs. Ella F. Rockwood; Pomona, Mrs. Eliza A. Hobart; Flora, Mrs. Mary A. Rockwood; Lady Ass't. Steward, Mrs. Clara E. Russell. And the aboved named officers were duly installed by Deputies E. C. Hutchinson and H. O. Hadley, who then proceeded to instruct them in the work of the order.

Voted that the Grange be called Brookline Grange No. 211.

The following were appointed a committee on Constitution and By-Laws: C. A. Stickney, D. S. Fessenden, M. A. Rockwood. Voted that the next meeting be held at this place on Saturday evening, March 24, 1894, at 7:30 P. M. The following committee was chosen to fix the time and provide a place for the meetings of the Grange: Joseph A. Hall, Eliza A. Hobart, Susie E. French.

After remarks by the Deputies and some others, the Grange was closed in due form by Deputy H. O. Hadley as Master and Deputy E. C. Hutchinson as Overseer."

A true record attest H. O. Hadley, Secretary.

The first three meetings of the Brookline Grange were held on Saturday evenings in the small vestry of the Congregational Church. The fourth meeting, on April 11, 1894, was held in Tarbell's Hall, which place has ever since been the Grange's home. The evenings of its regular meetings are the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, except July and August, when meetings are held on the fourth only.

A good literary program is assured at each meeting and, at the close, marching, games and other pastimes are enjoyed.

During its existence here the Grange has exerted its influence for good among the citizens of the town. It has thrown open its doors to the public on many occasions to enable the citizens to recieve the benefit of lectures, meetings of the State Board of Agriculture, Pomona meetings, and children's nights. It has held several very successful fairs, and to it the Old Home Week Association in Brookline owes its existence.

Eight of the charter members of the Brookline Grange have died since its organization, viz; Mrs. Eliza Hobart, Joseph Hall, Martin Rockwood, Mrs. Mary Rockwood, David Hobart, David Rockwood, William Rockwood, Mrs. Clara Stickney; and two;, viz Charles Stickney and Mrs. Abbie Barrett Prescott, have withdrawn from the order. Another member, Mrs. Hattie Williams Carruth, at the present time (1914) is living in Houston, Texas. The remaining ten were present at its twentieth anniversary.

Besides the charter members who have died, the Grange has lost ten others by death: Miss Grace N. Nye, Charles W. Currier, Mrs. Harriet A. Baldwin, Mrs. Fannie E. French, Mrs. Nettie M. Rideout, Mrs. Mary LeClaire, John H. B. Pierce, Edward W. Smith, Mrs. Emily C. Swett, Mrs. Augusta J. Smith.

The membership at the present time (1914) is one hundred and eight, of whom forty-four are men and sixty-four women. Since its organiaztion the Grange has had ten Masters, as follows: David Rockwood, one year; Clarence Russell, four years; William Bailey, three years; Martin Rockwood, two years; Albert Pierce, one year; Clara Russell, one year; Orville Fessenden, one year; George Tarbell, one year; Fred Hall, three years; and Edward Pierce, the present worthy master, who is serving his fourth year.

1906. March 13, the town voted to print a history of the town, providing the printing of the same should not cost over five hundred dollars; and subsequently the selectmen appointed Clarence R. Russell, Samuel Swett, Eddie S. Whitcomb, Edward C. Tucker, John B. Hardy and David S. Fessenden as a committee to superintend the work of its publication.

September 2, the dwelling houses of J. Alonzo Hall and Joseph Hall, located respectively on the west and east sides of the highway to Mason about one mile west of the Congregational church, were destroyed by fire.

1907. March 12, at the annual March town meeting, the following votes were passed:

"To accept a legacy of one hundred dollars from the estate of Mrs. Eliza D. Dodge, late of Worcester, Mass.,; the income of the same to be used for the perpetual care of the grave of her father, John Daniels, in the Pond Cemetery."

"To accept a legacy of one hundred dollars from James A. Horton of Greenfield, Mass.; the income of the same to be used for the perpetual care of his family lot in the South Cemetery."

"To raise twenty-five dollars for the destruction of Brown Tail Moths."

"To buy a new hearse and raise six hundred dollars to pay for the same, and that the selectmen be a committee of three to purchase it."

"To take a new valuation of the personal and real estate, and that the selectmen
with Willie A. Hobart and Elmer W. Wallace take the same."

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