Walpole Historical Society

Walpole Historical Society The Walpole Historical Society aims to collect, preserve, and disseminate Walpole's history.

Operating as usual

Any Civil War buffs out there? Check out this upcoming reenactment at Eastleigh Farm in Framingham!
09/25/2021

Any Civil War buffs out there? Check out this upcoming reenactment at Eastleigh Farm in Framingham!

Any Civil War buffs out there? Check out this upcoming reenactment at Eastleigh Farm in Framingham!

Interested in local history? On September 28th at 7:00, author Michael Tougias will be speaking at the Walpole Public Li...
09/01/2021

Interested in local history? On September 28th at 7:00, author Michael Tougias will be speaking at the Walpole Public Library on the subject of King Philip's War. This book is a detailed and fascinating guide to an early armed conflict fought between indigenous people and New England colonists from 1675 to 1678. We hope to see you there!

Interested in local history? On September 28th at 7:00, author Michael Tougias will be speaking at the Walpole Public Library on the subject of King Philip's War. This book is a detailed and fascinating guide to an early armed conflict fought between indigenous people and New England colonists from 1675 to 1678. We hope to see you there!

Back to school time! Where would you have gone shopping for school clothes in 1973? Maybe these spots. Jeans were it, as...
08/30/2021

Back to school time! Where would you have gone shopping for school clothes in 1973? Maybe these spots. Jeans were it, as well as flared pants and sweater vests. Here's your school lunch schedule and your East Junior High room assignments, too.

08/27/2021

CALLING ALL WALPOLE SENIORS!

“STORIES OF HISTORIC WALPOLE” STARTS THIS SEPTEMBER!

Walpole residents will soon have a chance to record their memories of Walpole as it was in years past. The Walpole Historical Commission is pleased to announce the beginning of a new project called “Stories of Historic Walpole.” Starting in September 2021, Commission member Katie Birtwell will interview senior citizens at the Walpole Co-operative Bank South Street Center, 60 South Street, Walpole to collect their stories for publications, slideshows, displays, films, and other formats. This will be part of the official observance of the town’s 300th anniversary in 2024.

"Walpole’s senior citizens should know that they are historians and their memories about our town are important," Katie Birtwell said. "Newcomers to Walpole know little or nothing about Bird, Kendall, Fales, Woodworkers, and all the other places now gone that meant so much to us and our families. It is vital that we preserve our recollections, stories, and photos about our town not only for Walpole 300 but for all time. Walpole Media will record your interview, and any photos you want to share will be digitally preserved. The Walpole Historical Commission and other participating town agencies will ensure that future generations will see and hear your stories."

Although all adult residents from 40 to 60 ultimately will have the opportunity to be interviewed at the Walpole Media studio located at Walpole High School, the program will initially be offered to Walpole’s seniors (60 and older) at the South Street Center. All persons interviewed will sign a form giving the Town of Walpole permission to use and preserve their memories, stories, and photographs. Those seniors who are unable to travel to the South Street Center due to ill health or advanced age may make arrangements to be interviewed at home instead.

All Walpole seniors are invited to attend an informational session at the South Street Center on September 2 at 1:00 pm. Sign-ups for 30 minute interview times will begin immediately afterward. After that time, seniors are welcome to drop by the South Street Center any time to sign up for their interview session at the front desk. Starting on September 9, interviews will be conducted on Thursdays from 2 to 4 PM.

The Walpole Historical Commission is headed by Jennifer Karnakis and is charged with the preservation of Walpole’s historic assets. Katie Birtwell is a longtime Walpole resident, a member of the Board of Directors of the Walpole Historical Society, and has been a member of the Walpole Historical Commission periodically since 1986. Other town agencies such as the Walpole Council on Aging and Walpole Media are also active partners in this effort.

Good news, we'll be open to the public again on Saturdays as of July 3! Modified hours for the time being will be from 1...
07/29/2021

Good news, we'll be open to the public again on Saturdays as of July 3! Modified hours for the time being will be from 1 to 3. Masks will be required and provided if necessary. Please stop in, we've missed having company!

Good news, we'll be open to the public again on Saturdays as of July 3! Modified hours for the time being will be from 1 to 3. Masks will be required and provided if necessary. Please stop in, we've missed having company!

Don't miss the talented Judith Kalaora as she portrays Deborah Sampson this Saturday in Norwood!
07/20/2021

Don't miss the talented Judith Kalaora as she portrays Deborah Sampson this Saturday in Norwood!

Don't miss the talented Judith Kalaora as she portrays Deborah Sampson this Saturday in Norwood!

Happy July 4th! Here's an article from the Walpole Star in 1882 describing the holiday...we get the feeling the author w...
07/04/2021

Happy July 4th! Here's an article from the Walpole Star in 1882 describing the holiday...we get the feeling the author was not a fan of noise or youthful exuberance.

The 'effigy of Guiteau' refers to Charles Guiteau, who had assassinated President James Garfield on July 2, 1881 and was hanged on June 30, 1882.

06/19/2021

Juneteenth, now a federal holiday, marks the date in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce emancipation.

In 1770, Jonathan Boyden took into his household 'a Mollatto child named Benjamin Brown born in Attleborough'. In 1779, Ezekiel Needham told the selectmen that had 'put upon my Place in Walpole (torn) a Daniels his Wife and two Negroes last from Franklin'. Around 1797, Jonathan Wild took into his home 'Soffa Ridgway, a black Girl'. Perhaps some were slaves.

One man we are certain was a slave was Jack, owned by Deacon Ezekiel Robbins. Deacon Robbins was the proprietor of the Brass Ball Tavern, located by the Kendall Mills on West Street. Jack lived at the tavern for at least part of his life. He was said to be 'a large, powerful fellow in his prime and of great assistance about the Tavern in subduing noisy and unruly guests'. It was said that 'when called upon to clear the room he would do so in faultless style'.

Deacon Robbins died in 1772 and Jack was left to his wife Mary as part of his personal estate. It was stipulated in his will that the Church of Christ in Walpole should care for and provide for Jack till the end of his life and arrange a decent burial for him, unless he was sold by Mary before her death. He was valued at 13 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence in the inventory.

Jack was not sold by Mary and the church took custody of him after her death. The church spent 6 dollars to advertise him when he ran away. It appears he had gone to Attleborough where 'Jack Robbins and Hannah Eason' were married in 1787. Hannah was from Norton. The church also appointed a committee to look into the legality of the marriage, though the outcome was unclear.

Jack died in 1810 and Hannah Jack, as she became known in Walpole, outlived Jack for many years. She resided on West Street somewhere between the present day railroad bridges.

Information from 'History of the Robbins Family of Walpole, Massachusetts' and 'The Story of Walpole 1724-1924', both available at the Lewis House.

06/18/2021

Walpole Historical Commission member Katie Birtwell prepared this eloquent and fitting tribute to late vice president Roger Turner that we would like to share with you. Thank you, Katie, for your beautiful words.

FOR ROGER TURNER

With the passage of our friend Roger Turner, it occurred to me that from now on, I will enter the Deacon Willard Lewis House and walk to the large table in the research room and he will not be there.

Now, in the days following Roger’s death and while contemplating a Walpole somehow without him, to ease my heart I picture him sitting instead at a different table -- where it is located I cannot tell you, but it is long and wide and stacked high with long-lost historical documents. Roger is seated next to Charles Sumner Bird and they are chatting away about Bird’s plans to build a park for the town. Patricia Kelly holds his hand, overjoyed to be reunited at long last. People mill around the room from all ages, happy in their companionship with each other and glad to welcome one of the town’s greatest historians, for this is a special party just for Roger. All times are the same here.

Seated across from Roger and Pat are Colonel Timothy Mann and his son-in-law Truman Clarke, and they are talking about how the Methodist Church just celebrated its 200th anniversary. Captain Belcher laughs, reminding them that their mutual house still stands across the street, safe and sound. Betty Cottrell is busy taking notes while Maureen Rivers and Frank Larrabee look on. All the departed members of the Historical Society and the Historical Commission busy themselves making all the guests comfortable. Mr. Hartshorn, still in his grocer’s apron, tells Captain Polley about the improvements to Main Street while Squire Miller Fales invites the group to Powderhouse Hill and to his house which sits on its summit.

All the folks who ever touched our town’s doings are there, all in the costumes of their respective times. It is a cheerful assemblage. The room is filled with Birds and Boydens and Gilmores and Spears and Fales and Clapps and Robbins and Plimptons and Kingsburys and Lewises, all ready to answer Roger’s questions about Walpole as it was when they knew it.

When one looks out the windows of this handsome room, the landscape outside shimmers and changes and one’s vision is suddenly long-reaching and one can make out Fred Browne’s old garage and the Orthodox Congregational Church downstreet, which fell in the Hurricane of ‘38. Looking down to where Eversource now stands, one can see “Indian Valley” with its eighty-foot stand of hemlock trees. Also visible are the Jarvis Livery Stable and Bray’s blacksmith shop and the old Lewis House where the CVS stands today and the Polley Tavern and the little market next to it that sold potato chips and flour and workmen’s boots and candy for the kids.

All of Roger’s departed friends and relatives are there to greet him and to show him around; his dad tells him that he is proud of him and his mother and sister hold him close. All his pals from his civil defense and town management and radio days are there, happy to see him again. The wondrous sights and sounds and the many people who surround him with words of welcome cheer his heart, and then he realizes he is young again.

Our friend Roger rests easy in his seat at the great table, surrounded by all the love and companionship he will ever need. On the table in front of him are all the historical documents that ever were and he realizes that now he has all the time in the world to read them. He smiles, happy in the knowledge that he will soon have all the answers to all the questions he ever had about Walpole and its history. He picks up the nearest map -- dated 1794 and destroyed centuries ago but somehow magically here -- and begins to read.

-- Katie

Happy Flag Day! We have a 45 star flag with the words 'Henry and Fuller Rockland Mass, June 13 1905. The missing states ...
06/14/2021

Happy Flag Day! We have a 45 star flag with the words 'Henry and Fuller Rockland Mass, June 13 1905. The missing states would be Oklahoma (1907), New Mexico and Arizona (1912), and Alaska and Hawaii (1959).

We are so sorry to announce the loss of our vice president, Roger Turner. His wealth of knowledge will never be matched....
06/09/2021

We are so sorry to announce the loss of our vice president, Roger Turner. His wealth of knowledge will never be matched. Unfailingly helpful and friendly, Roger always had a great enthusiasm to share and promote the history of Walpole.

Roger was a great source of information and research for a number of books published by the Society. He was most recently in the middle of research on old ice houses in town. One of his greatest interests was the waterways of Walpole, which anyone who had the opportunity to speak to him would surely know! He played a big part in the maintenance of the Lewis House and was an avid photographer about town.

We'll miss you, Roger.

https://www.delaneyfuneral.com/obituary/Roger-TurnerJr

05/29/2021
In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, we remember Private Patrick E. Driscoll of Company E of the 12th Massachusetts Voluntee...
03/17/2021
The Wolftones The Fighting 69th.The Irish Brigade..wmv

In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, we remember Private Patrick E. Driscoll of Company E of the 12th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He was born in Ireland about 1843 to Dennis and Mary Driscoll and was one of five children. The family arrived in Walpole sometime before 1860.

Patrick enlisted in the 12th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, also known as the Webster Regiment after its colonel, Fletcher Webster (son of famous orator and politician Daniel Webster). He was seventeen years of age. The Twelfth Massachusetts fought in many of the great battles of the Civil War including the Second Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.

They mustered as a regiment on June 25, 1864 and returned to Boston on July 1, 1864. It is Antietam for which the regiment is famous. At Miller's Cornfield, they had heavy casualties. Among the wounded was Patrick Driscoll. He returned to duty and was wounded again at Spotsylvania on May 19, 1864.

Due to the severity of his wounds, he was discharged and returned home from Washington. He spent the rest of his days with his family in Walpole of consumption on June 11th, 1872 at the age of only 29.

Irishmen fought bravely in the Civil War on both sides and two regiments from Massachusetts were composed almost entirely of them. The 28th Massachusetts was part of the Irish Brigade, which also had regiments from New York and Pennsylvania. They fought with great distinction, especially at Antietam and Fredericksburg. The commander of the Irish Brigade was Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher, the famous Irish nationalist.

Have a listen to a song about the 69th New York Infantry by the Wolfe Tones.

https://youtu.be/eWvdf_51Iq0

Getting ready for St. Patrick's Day? Here are a few recipes to check out from the 1948 Catholic Woman's Club cookbook if...
03/14/2021

Getting ready for St. Patrick's Day? Here are a few recipes to check out from the 1948 Catholic Woman's Club cookbook if you feel ambitious about making soda bread and a Blarney Stone cake. We don't know about you, but we do like caraway seeds in our bread!

Howard Johnson's restaurants were founded on this day in Quincy in 1925, 96 years ago. You may remember when Walpole had...
02/17/2021

Howard Johnson's restaurants were founded on this day in Quincy in 1925, 96 years ago. You may remember when Walpole had its own Howard Johnson's on the corner of Rte 1 and Rte 27. The restaurant image is of a magnet which is available for $1 in the society. The children's menu is from the early 70s and the full menu is from 1952.

02/15/2021
Happy Valentine's Day! Going back in time to 1974-1974, some advertisements in the Walpole Times showed you what you cou...
02/14/2021

Happy Valentine's Day! Going back in time to 1974-1974, some advertisements in the Walpole Times showed you what you could expect as a gift. English Leather or the mysterious 'cranberry cologne for men', possibly a pound of Schrafft's chocolate.

If you've visited the Lewis House you might have seen these urns by the back of the building. But you may not recognize ...
02/09/2021

If you've visited the Lewis House you might have seen these urns by the back of the building. But you may not recognize them from their original spot...at the top of Swenson's Men's Clothing Store. They were donated by the Walpole Cooperative Bank in April 2004.

From the pages of the Walpole Star this week in 1878, it was another cold day. Also pictured are two foot warmers, which...
01/29/2021

From the pages of the Walpole Star this week in 1878, it was another cold day. Also pictured are two foot warmers, which would have been filled with embers and taken to a long church service or on a chilly carriage ride.

01/18/2021
www.walpole-ma.gov

The next meeting of the Historical Commission will be held by Zoom on Thursday, January 21 at 6:30PM. Please follow the link below for the agenda which includes instructions on how to attend for interested members of the public.
https://www.walpole-ma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif1381/f/agendas/whc_agenda_01212021.pdf

Merry Christmas Eve to you all! Relax and have a look at some seasonal ads in the Walpole Times, December 1953.
12/24/2020

Merry Christmas Eve to you all! Relax and have a look at some seasonal ads in the Walpole Times, December 1953.

Remembering, on this Veteran's Day, Private Charles Edwin Leland of Walpole who was killed in action at the Battle of Ge...
11/11/2020

Remembering, on this Veteran's Day, Private Charles Edwin Leland of Walpole who was killed in action at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Born in 1844 in South Walpole, he was mustered into the 13th Regiment on July 29th, 1861.

Day one did not go well for the Army of the Potomac. Private Leland succumbed to an intestinal wound at the age of 18 on July 1st, 1863, the first day of the battle. His body was returned to Walpole and buried at Terrace Hill Cemetery.

Plans were made to begin cleaning the marker belonging to Private Leland but weather was not permitting today and the stone appears fragile. We will update on any progress.

Information is from the book 'Civil War Soldiers of Walpole, Massachusetts' available at the Historical Society and the 13th Massachusetts Volunteers website. http://13thmass.org/index.html

Address

33 West St
Walpole, MA
02081

Opening Hours

2pm - 4pm

Telephone

+17743151292

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Comments

Does anyone have any ties to the former Karol's cafe on rte 1 in walpole? I found a piece of memorabilia and would like the family to have it.
Any help identifying the people would be appreciated. Willing to donate the photos to the historical society, or the families.
Would you have any photos of Ganawatte Farm that was located in South Walpole? (Off of Pine Street - on the "other side" of Route 1)
Fales Foundry was operating in the 1800s and 1900s on property beside Glenwood Ave. to make gray cast iron castings. It was understood that at the end of the day some of the workers made casting of their own. These included cast iron fire place andirons in the form of an eagle with holes for eyes. In these holes marbles were placed so that the eyes could glow from the burning logs. It would be appreciated by the Walpole Historical Society to learn about these. If anyone knows about them we could be contacted by letter or photo. The Society is located at 20 West St. Walpole, MA 02081 Attention: K.West Thank you.
I received my certificate in the mail today of my supplemental membership to the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) by descent from Daniel Rhoads who was born 1752 in Stoughtonham and died 1830 in Walpole. He was married to his wife Lydia in the town of Sharon. I am descended from their first born son, Reuben. If there are any other descendants of Daniel & Lydia Rhoads who are interested in joining the SAR or DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), I would be happy to share the details of my verified lineage. I also contributed a short biography that I wrote about him to the SAR website: http://sarpatriots.sar.org/patriot/display/277784