Dyer Memorial Library

Dyer Memorial Library A Resource for Local History and Genealogy.

Operating as usual

::: WW II – Ralph W. Brett - US Army, TEC5 :::Ralph W. Brett (son of Ralph J. Brett, WW I veteran) served in the 10th Ar...

::: WW II – Ralph W. Brett - US Army, TEC5 :::

Ralph W. Brett (son of Ralph J. Brett, WW I veteran) served in the 10th Armored Division Company D, 21st Tank Battalion during WW II. He was awarded several medals including the Bronze Star. He was a “Technician fifth grade.” Those who held this rank were addressed as corporal, though were often called a "tech corporal". Technicians possessed specialized skills that were rewarded with a higher pay grade, but had no command authority.

The 21st Tank Battalion consisted of three medium tank companies (usually A, B and C) and one light tank company (usually company D). The 10th Armored Division had campaigns in the Ardennes, Rhineland, Central Europe and by the end of WW II had captured 650 towns and cities along with 56,000 German prisoners.

Ralph W. Brett enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 31, 1942 and was honorably discharged on December 29, 1945. After the war, he returned home to Brighton St. in North Abington.

Brett slid easily into a Civil Service job working for the U.S. Postal Service in No. Abington. Apparently, that branch was staffed staffed entirely by WW II veterans for many years. Brett started off his USPS career as a clerk and then moved on to Letter Carrier. During the latter part of his career, his delivery route was in the Hersey Lane / Plymouth St. area of Abington.

Ralph W. Brett was an outdoor guy, the “cream of the crop,” and a true gentleman according to everyone he crossed paths with from co-workers to customers. He delivered U.S. Mail to residents in Abington for 42 years, the maximum amount of time allowed for the job.

In honor of Veterans Day, the Dyer Memorial Library & Archives salutes and thanks the past and present men and women from Old Abington (Abington, Rockland, and Whitman) who served our country.

Our Veteran profile about Ralph W. Brett was gathered from WW II Veterans’ Service Bureau records and other sources in the Dyer's collection as well as online sources. Special thanks to Donnie & Lillian Rockett and Van Heffernan for their help in compiling this profile.

::: WW I – Ralph Johnson Brett - Wagoner, U.S. Army :::Ralph Johnson Brett (b. 1894 in Abington) was one of 230 Abington...

::: WW I – Ralph Johnson Brett - Wagoner, U.S. Army :::

Ralph Johnson Brett (b. 1894 in Abington) was one of 230 Abington men who served in World War I. When he enlisted on July 25, 1917. Mr. Brett lived at 1080 Washington St., Abington, with his father, William, and mother, Clara.

Ralph Brett was a member of the US Army Company F, 101st Engineers. The 101st Engineer Battalion is a unit of the Massachusetts National Guard, with roots going back to the colonial era.

Mr. Brett earned the rank of Wagoner, the driver and teamster for army vehicle transportation by animal including wagons, ambulances and escort wagons. He served as a Wagoner in Brest, France leaving Europe for home on the USS Mount Vernon arriving in Boston on April 4, 1919.

He was honorably discharged from the service on May 6, 1919.

When he returned to Abington/Rockland after the war, Mr. Brett used his military experience and worked at a livery stable according to the 1920 Census. Ralph married, settled in Rockland and had several children. Mr. Brett passed away in 1954 and is buried at Mt. Vernon Cemetery. https://www.facebook.com/Mount-Vernon-Cemetery-Corp-117299908331568/

In honor of Veterans Day, the Dyer Memorial Library & Archives salutes and thanks the past and present men and women from Old Abington (Abington, Rockland, and Whitman) who served our country.

Our Veteran profile about Ralph J. Brett was gathered from the Enlistment records, Veterans Service records and additional military records the Dyer has in its collection. His post-war story was compiled using List of Residents for Abington and Rockland, High School Yearbooks and numerous other sources in the Dyer's collection. His burial information was gathered from the fabulous Findagrave stewards of Mount Vernon Cemetery Corp.

Wagoner Job Description:
"The Wagoner must have the skills to care for the animal and machinery, plus understand how to handle both. He is responsible for his team, harness, and wagon, tools and spare parts, and the condition in which he keeps them is a measure of his efficiency. A successful Wagoner is one who keeps his wagon and animals in good condition and gets his load to its destination at the proper time. This requires constant attention from morning until night." Learn more: http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~gregkrenzelok/genealogy/veterinary%20corp%20in%20ww1/wagonerduties.html



FOUND AT THE DYER:The Dyer Library and Archives is home to a very eclectic collection of postcards, all of which have be...

The Dyer Library and Archives is home to a very eclectic collection of postcards, all of which have been donated by “Old Abingtonians” over the last 80 some odd years. The cards range in subject matter from holidays, scenic Abington, Rockland and Whitman, businesses, jokes, buildings, parks, schools and more. Here are few of the Dyer’s postcard collection just in time for tomorrow’s election.

Beginning around 1966 the Conservation Commission began planning for the reclamation of Island Grove Pond. The 1966 Abin...

Beginning around 1966 the Conservation Commission began planning for the reclamation of Island Grove Pond. The 1966 Abington town meeting gave the Park and Conservation Commissions joint rights in the pond area and appropriated $6000 to obtain a master plan for the pond and park.
Within a month of that town meeting the commissioners were advised that there was growing interest in town for a swimming facility as part of that master plan. The town eventually voted (440 to 77) to pursue a manmade swimming pond at Island Grove rather than a conventional, smaller swimming pool behind the Frolio. The manmade pond was opened for swimming and recreational pursuits in 1968 and the project was celebrated with a photo on the 1969 Abington Annual Report cover.
While waiting for funding to build the swimming pond, the commission turned its attention to the clean up of Island Grove Pond. At the 1968 town meeting, voters appropriated $15,000 to “desilt and deepen the pond for the purpose of controlling algae, weeds and other aquatic nuisances”. Much of the silt was sold to contractors and homeowners as clean fill. The desilting project lasted 6 years, much to the chagrin of the Historical Commission, who believed that the project was going too slowly and rendering the historic grove an eyesore.
Once the pond was drained, engineers were able to examine the abutments holding Memorial Bridge, which had been built as part of the town’s 1912 bicentennial. The original bridge cost $23,000. In May of 1972 the bridge was closed for a month as one of the piers on which the engineers had been working collapsed. In September the same pier was in danger of collapse again during torrential rains from tropical storm Carrie. Volunteers from Abington, Rockland and Whitman spent 22 hours filling and placing hundreds of sandbags to create a dam around the abutment forcing the water to go around it. Jack Reilly, Abington High School’s athletic director was contacted, and he sent the football team in force to provide additional help. Their efforts paid off as the abutment held. By the end of 1972 the desilting was completed, and Island Grove Pond returned to its natural appearance after two days and a couple of good rainstorms. Ice skating and ice fishing returned to Island Grove that winter for the first time in six years. The drained grove photographs have been enhanced with Photoshop.

Historical Society of Old Abington

Historical Society of Old Abington

WHERE IS IT ? The Historical Society of Old Abington (HSOA) will be on-site on Monday afternoon taping part of their upcoming November Conversation. COVID cancelled the planned field trip, but we'll be coming to you virtually on local cable and YouTube. Anyone know where this is ?



Historical Society of Old Abington

Historical Society of Old Abington

NOT SURE what this was doing at my Martha's Vineyard House, but I'll bring it back to Abington for the Historical Society collection. I'm thinking the women in the photos must be someone's mother or grandmother! Based on the order blank this booklet is from the 1950's. The product list includes 33 varieties of plants.

Rockland Welting CompanyJohn Spence (1834-1902), a native of County Cork Ireland, immigrated to America during the potat...

Rockland Welting Company
John Spence (1834-1902), a native of County Cork Ireland, immigrated to America during the potato famine in 1848 at age 14, settling in what was then East Abington (Rockland). John married Miss Anne Foye in 1859 and they lived at 364 Plain Street. He learned the shoemaking trade working in a factory, then opened his own business manufacturing heels. He later started what would become the largest leather business in Abington, opening a store on South Street in Boston and a branch house in Chicago, eventually establishing the Brockton Leather Company in 1895. He was a respected and honored resident of Rockland, dedicated to the welfare of the town. He promoted the Rockland & Abington Street Railway, serving as its vice-president, was a member of the board of water commissioners in Rockland and the Commercial Club, as well as a lifelong worshiper of the Roman Catholic Church. The residents of Rockland showed their regard for John Spence by closing all the stores in Rockland during his funeral.
Their son James W. Spence was born in Rockland at the beginning of the Civil War and after working with his father for about 20 years, he purchased the Rockland Welting Company in 1903, which he enlarged in both scope and area. Workers manufactured shoe welts. The shoe welt is a critical component of any shoe, especially leather work boots. The welt is the spine of the shoe, where the outsole attaches to the rest of the boot or shoe. If it isn't built right, the result will be a pair of work boots that are in the trash a whole lot faster than you'd like them to be.
James purchased the old Washington Reed place in 1913 and created a showplace which was evaluated for tax purposes at $16,000 in 1920. This mansion was torn down in the 1950s to make room for the building of Rockland High School. James followed in his father’s footsteps as a leading civic figure in town. James Spence died in 1925 at age 63.
The Rockland Welting Company was located on Market Street at the foot of Union Street. It was razed in 1965 to make way for the entrance to the Rockland Shopping Plaza. The area was known as “Lane’s Corner” as the factory building started life as Lane’s Shoe Factory.

FOUND AT THE DYERFrederick Chamberlin (1870 – 1943) was a playwright, archaeologist, biographer, globe trotter, lawyer, ...

Frederick Chamberlin (1870 – 1943) was a playwright, archaeologist, biographer, globe trotter, lawyer, and author. Born in Boston, he was adopted by Abington residents Edward and Sarah Chamberlin. Frederick attended Abington schools and later graduated from Harvard. Frederick and his wife moved to southeast London. He published his biography, “The Private Character of Queen Elizabeth”, in 1921, and wrote many other books on Elizabethan England, including “The Private Character of Henry VIII”, “The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth” (previously published as “Elizabeth and Leycester”) and “The Balearics and Their People” about obscure Mediterranean islands.

Mr. Chamberlin is listed in “Who Was Who among English and European Authors, 1931-1949”.

Mr. Chamberlin died in England at age 72, where he was quite famous as a widely read author of Tudor history.

Tombstone at Mt. Vernon CemeteryLillian Rockett came upon this gravestone at Mt. Vernon Cemetery. STOP TRAVELERReflect o...

Tombstone at Mt. Vernon Cemetery
Lillian Rockett came upon this gravestone at Mt. Vernon Cemetery.

Reflect on the Sudden Exit of
Son of
Mr. Benjamin & Mrs. Marcy Noyes
In The Vigour of Life
He fell and instantly expired
April 10. 1810
Aged 11 years

Lillian’s research found that Enoch was born to Benjamin and Marcy on 3 April 1799 in Abington, MA. He died 2 April 1810, also in Abington. Rumor has it that Enoch fell from a tree causing his untimely death. The Noyes had another child, Charlotte, a year younger than Enoch.

Check out Mt. Vernon Cemetery on Facebook

Historical Society of Old Abington

Historical Society of Old Abington

WE'RE GOING VIRTUAL, at least for the Fall Semester of our Conversations. We'll be up on local cable (and YouTube) - which we always are, but we'll tape without our usual audience and let you know afterwards where/when you can view the Conversation
Our first taping is Sunday, October 4th and we'll talk about "The Business of Dying".

Funeral homes are located in historic homes in the three towns, so we'll be talking with representatives of
Quealy's in Abington,
Magoun-Biggin's in Rockland, and
MacKinnon's in Whitman.

We'll also be joined by a funeral director from a Jewish Funeral home in Brookline to talk about the differences. in traditions and rituals.

Hit us up with any questions you might like addressed and we'll do our best to work them into the Conversation.

FOUND AT THE DYER: Five generations later and the Albert Culver Company in Rockland is still going strong. Albert Culver...

FOUND AT THE DYER: Five generations later and the Albert Culver Company in Rockland is still going strong. Albert Culver was born in Rutland, Vermont about 1838. He came to live in North Abington at age 18 with $5.00 in his pocket and worked as a bookkeeper/clerk for his brother, John, who was in the coal and grain business. John Culver was the proprietor of the Culver House, a stable and hotel, on the corner of North Avenue and Railroad Street. Albert earned $12.50 a month, along with board. When he was 21, Albert began an 11-year stretch of employment in Rockland at Jenkins Lane and Company, a shoe parts supply business. In the spring of 1872 Culver started his own flour and grain company, Albert Culver & Company at the rear depot of the train station in East Abington (Rockland). By 1883, it became the Culver, Phillips & Company and sold grain, flour, coal, hay, straw and more. The business moved locations over the years, at times located on Union Street.
Albert married Nancy Howland of Abington in Roxbury on April 2, 1862. They had two daughters, Anna and Ethel. Albert died on February 21, 1921 at his home on School Street in Rockland and is buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.
Today Albert’s company is still in operation as the Albert Culver Company with a claim of being the oldest family owned, full-service oil company on the South Shore, now located on East Water Street in Rockland.
We believe the Albert Culver Company installed and has been servicing the heating system at the Dyer Library and Archives since its inception in 1932.
All research, information, prints, and business advertisements were found in business directories, atlases, obituaries and online sources at the Dyer.

We need your help! These items were left at the Dyer with no information about why they are important to the towns of Ab...

We need your help! These items were left at the Dyer with no information about why they are important to the towns of Abington, Rockland, or Whitman's history. Help us find the connection.

We ❤️ your material donations of photos, programs, memoirs, postcards, yearbooks, etc.! But, if there is no donor information and no story about how/why the items are important to our shared history, we cannot accept them. 😢

Please call or email us to let us know you wish to donate something and we'll set up an appointment for drop-off.
email: [email protected]
ph. 781-878-8480

NERGC - New England Regional Genealogical Conference

NERGC - New England Regional Genealogical Conference

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to take a serious look at our plans for 2021. For health and safety reasons, we’ve decided to present the conference in a virtual format. Planning is underway to offer the same high-quality lectures and programs you’re accustomed to, but from the comfort of your home.
Consider these advantages:
• On-demand presentations – No difficult decisions about which lecture to attend! All pre-recorded presentations are available for you to view whenever you choose.
• Conference extended - Plenty of time to listen to any and all the recorded sessions.
• Safe, convenient and less expensive – No risky and costly travel, no reservations, no trip delay.
• Renowned genealogists cover a variety of topics.
• No hotel or meal costs.

Plans are also in progress to present the other features you’ve enjoyed in the past: Ancestors Road Show, Society Fair, Special Interest Groups, Queries, and even a virtual Exhibit Hall! We are exploring options to support persons with special needs.

Registration for NERGC 2021 won't begin until later this fall, but you can start making plans now. Continue to follow our E-zines, page, and Blog to keep up-to-date on the planning and the excitement of this conference.

FOUND AT THE DYER… Children in West Abington needed rides to the Dunbar Street School (closed in 1939 and later razed to...

FOUND AT THE DYER… Children in West Abington needed rides to the Dunbar Street School (closed in 1939 and later razed to make way for apartment buildings) in Center Abington. In the absence of today’s big yellow bus, farm children in the west section of town were transported by two strong horses pulling a large sleigh. As many as twenty-five students rode the sleigh to school in an hour-long trip. Bernie Blanchard, who owned a farm on Hancock Street, was under town contract to drive the sleigh. Many of the children had warm soap stones or rocks in their boots or mittens to keep warm on the long ride. Lunches carried in metal boxes often froze before arriving at school. Today the Dyer is home to the sleigh bells (thanks to a donation by Lurane Ryerson of Sun Ray Lea Farm), the brass plate from the sleigh with the maker’s name, a 1917 photo taken on Linwood Street by Jennie Beal, whose three children were among the students riding the sleigh to school that day. Students who have been identified in the photo are Velma Belcher, Eva Haywood, Winfield Haywood, Kenneth Leonard, Doris Lynde, and Edith, Eugene and Albert Beal.


28 Centre Ave
Abington, MA

General information

Located in Abington, MA, the Dyer Memorial Library & Archives is a resource for local history and genealogy. Tue, 1-5 pm Wed, 1-5 pm Thur, 1-5 pm Fri, 1-5 pm

Opening Hours

Tuesday 13:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 13:00 - 17:00
Thursday 13:00 - 17:00
Friday 13:00 - 17:00


(781) 878-8480


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https://youtu.be/tl-75PgP1zY and still nothing about this War Hero in Whitman.
Does anyone have any information on an auto repair shop "Westy's" which was run by two brothers, Clyde West and Harold West? Here is a photo of a plaque to jar your memories!! Small sign on right notes Sunoco gas sold there. Any help appreciated, including dating cars pictured. There were my great-uncles; my mom grew up in the same home with them and the automobile repair and restoration bug continues through the generations....thank you!
Another local resident.....
The Abington High School 1956 Yearbook may have a typo.The Abington vs Plymouth game may have been played on October 20th, not on October 7th.October 7th was a Sunday and Abington High had played on October 6.
The Dyer's third accession of 2020! Rockland's Centennial - 1974
Abington Celebrates! at the Dyer this Saturday! Visit us and find out about Priscilla Tisdale, the Adams Street School and Principal, Charles F. Frahar! We will also have some nifty items for sale!
Do you have any information on the Anti Slavery society of Abington or the activities held at the grove? I found this gem and would love to explore it more. Sojourner Truth came to Abington! I also would love to pin point the year. Thanking you in advance. https://archive.org/details/narrativeofsojou7231gilb
Jenifer Armstrong Zinck is a professional genealogist with more than a decade of research experience. She frequently speaks and presents workshops on topics including beginner and intermediate genealogy, online resources, genetic genealogy, and technology for genealogy. Jennifer is a graduate of the Boston University Genealogical Certificate Program, CAFG Forensic Genealogy Institute, ProGen 13, SLIG, and IGHR. She is currently instructing the Forensic Genealogy module for the Genealogical Research Certificate Program.
Do your research methodology skills need a tune up? Register today for this all-day seminar with Dr. Thomas Jones. Breaking down brick walls are his specialty! http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eeuwukp64e836282&llr=sdcbuz8ab
MGC WILL HELP YOU MEET YOUR GENEALOGY GOALS FOR 2018. Register today for our 2018 Seminar ~ featuring a DNA track with Jennifer Zinck, an all-day track with Dr. Thomas Jones, and a variety of other talks. http://www.massgencouncil.org/2017/2018-seminar/