Bartlett Museum

Bartlett Museum The Bartlett Museum is a nonprofit museum located at 270 Main Street, Amesbury


Volume 1. Issue 2 Around Amesbury Highlighting one location or structure in our city then and now with a little bit of history. Photos: Ordway School from stereoview about 1890. Third grade students


Michael Hamilton, executive manager of the Mary Baker Eddy Library talks about the influences John Greenleaf Whittier had on MBE and their meeting in 1868 at...


Centuries before a Cambridge, Mass., candy company started making conversation hearts in 1901, British men and women exchanged ‘kissing comfits’ to sweeten the breath and perhaps ask for a kiss.


In this article, Melissa Davenport Berry writes about the successful, independent maverick Annie Webster of Amesbury, Massachusetts.


Groundhog Day was always about light and shadow in New England, even before it had anything to do with a groundhog. Then it was called Candlemas.


The two photos appear together in our collection: "Albert J. Wing" is written on the back of one, and in the same neat, vertical handwriting, "Lydia J. Wing" is written on the back of the other. There is nothing else in the collection to flesh out who these two young people were.

The assumption is correct that they were husband and wife (they look roughly the same age in photos that date to the same period in time. Theirs, I've learned, is a story of hopes and dreams begun with their wedding in 1906 and fractured before they even had a chance to fully imagine them.

Albert, in his picture, is giving nothing away that would hint as to what he's thinking or feeling. His unbuttoned "motorman's" coat hangs loosely on him; he looks a little disheveled. The picture dates to between 1907 and 1909, when he worked for Worcester Consolidated Street Railway.

Judging by Lydia's ensemble, I judge the date of the photo to be sometime between 1900 and 1910. Women's attire had adopted a more "tailored" look, with dress shapes acquiring one of two popular shapes — the "S-curve" (with corseting that caused the bust to spill forward and the butt to jut out) and the bell-shape, as we see Lydia favoring in her picture.

Albert was an Amesbury native, Lydia a life-long Salisbury resident. Their very public divorce in 1910 ended a short, 4-year marriage. Albert soon after married Lily Belle Parks, a native of Nova Scotia, and the two moved to Lynn where they started a family and where Albert became variously employed as a carpenter and a shoe "heeler".

Lydia never left Salisbury; for a time, at least, she and her daughter lived with Lydia's mother on "The" Beach Road. It is through the maternal line that we observe the deep Salisbury roots. Eaton and Greeley are the easiest names to recognize in Lydia's family tree.

Did Albert and Lydia meet through a shared love of the performing arts? Did they instead meet by chance while he was conductor for the Eastern Railroad?

Lydia Jane Tilton (1881-1962)
Albert J. Wing (1885-1948)


“No person shall travel on any bridge or road, with any sleigh or sled drawn by one or more horses, unless there shall be at least three bells attached to some part of the harness thereof,” proclaimed the 1835 Revised Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Chapter 51, section 2).

Sleighs gliding on snowy winter roads made relatively little sound, so the jingling of sleigh bells let pedestrians know that a vehicle was approaching. Since sleigh bells served an important safety function, Massachusetts residents caught driving a sleigh without bells would be fined.


B-roll of downtown Amesbury, Massachusetts in May 1989. Videotaped by Frank Gurczak.


In colonial New England, the new year didn't always start on January 1. Some people stuck with the old custom of stating it on March 25. Here's why.


In 1801, at least 7 telegraph hills from Boston to Martha's Vineyard belonged to a communication system that resembled a mechanical internet.


Happy Birthday to John Greenleaf Whittier. He was born on December 17, 1807 in Haverhill, MA. He had two sisters and one brother. He is well know around the world as a Quaker Poet and Abolitionist. He lived in Amesbury for 56 years of his life. He has Cities, Schools, Mountains, Bridges and more named after him. One of his famous poems was "Snowbound" that was published in 1866 and written while he lived in Amesbury. It was a narrative poem telling stories about a family during a snowstorm. It was based on his life on the family farm in Haverhill. Whittier Birthplace. The book was sold for $1.25 on the first day and sold over 7000 copies. That was a high price during those times. The poem was a small book and was beautifully illustrated. He died in 1892 at aged 84. Today on the anniversary of his 216th birthday, and on this snowy morning, why not honor him by reading some of his poem, "Snow-bound: A Winter Idyl"


The She She She camps of the Great Depression aimed to do for young women what the Civilian Conservation Corps did for young men. But did they succeed?


This might be the most magical place in Massachusetts.


In 19th century New England, some farmers kept to the practice of beginning the new year on March 25. Farmers New Year was also a day to start a diary.


This week is the 86th anniversary of the Flood of 1936, a two week series of rain storms beginning March 11th which flooded the Merrimack River and surrounding bodies of water in Essex County and throughout New England. The snow and ice melting added to the flood waters. This photo was probably taken around March 20th or 21st; the peak Merrimack River flooding was 35 feet above normal. This glass negative, displayed as a positive, shows the south side of Merrimack Street, downtown Haverhill, Mass. Two canoes and a rowboat, with two men in one canoe, three men and a boy in a bigger canoe, and two men in the rowboat. Storefronts, left to right: [Phillips] Shoe Store, Handy Dandy Store, Morgan & Lafaver. Larchmont Club on second floor. Flood water about halfway up first story of buildings. Catalog number 31479006521453. View this photo on the Senter Digital Archive at or use Keyword Search with catalog number, or use Keyword Search "Flood of 1936" with quotation marks to see more.


The rain started pouring in New England on March 11 and didn’t stop for 14 days, unleashing the devastating 1936 flood that covered half the United States.


From 1908-1940, hundreds of Sears kit houses were shipped to New England by rail. Sears house fans have identified them throughout the region. Here are six.


The meetinghouse stove was a puritanical no-no for a century. The Puritans finally changed their minds with results that sometimes made them laugh.


Baked beans have long been a bedrock of New England cuisine. They're tasty, nutritious and they keep the kitchen warm on a winter day.

Market Square, Amesbury

Market Square, Amesbury

Wheels for days! This view of Market square distinguishes itself capturing the watering trough function in action. This undated photograph is part of our digital collection. Occasionally we acquire digital copies of images when the originals aren’t available.

(Image depicts several bicycle riders in downtown circa 1890 and a horse and buggy stopped at the watering trough. The horse is drinking. Several structures in background streets are including a hatter and print shop).


Seen in today's Daily News of Newburyport: On this day in 1879, readers were informed of an upcoming meeting at the Newburyport Athenaeum. Nathan N. Withington, Esq. would address members on the coming Friday. The topic was the “Influence of Woman Suffrage upon Society.” Admittance was 5 cents. Location? Ironically, Fraternity Hall.


The great shoemakers strike of 1860 began with 3,000 shoe workers and then it spread to 25 New England towns. The workers had an important ally.


Seen in today's Daily News of Newburyport : The founding fathers were still working on the first U.S. Census, a portion of which is shown below, reported the paper on this day in 1790. They also were hammering out a uniform system of naturalization. Following a lengthy debate in the House, including a residency requirement and many defeated motions, the House adjourned with no vote taken. Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.


New England State Names derive from a wide variety of sources, the French, Italians, English and Native Americans all had a hand in them.


In this article, Melissa Davenport Berry writes about the peculiar burial of an eccentric named Reuben John Smith in Amesbury, Massachusetts, in 1899.


270 Main Street
Amesbury, MA


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Hey Folks, someone suggested a FB page for my blog, The Graveyard Shift. It is now up and live. You can like this page and received all the blog notifications. For those interested in your local Amesbury Cemeteries and the stones that lie within, this blog and page will prove very useful. In addition, at least once a week or more I will be posting Head Stone Transcriptions for you to easily view and record. If you have any questions, points of interest or other items, feel free to PM me.
In the FB search box, type The Graveyard Shift and then like the page. Thanks! Lynn.