Saturday, April 9, 2016

Maynard Founders' Day

Starting in 2016, the Town of Maynard has decided to celebrate "Founder's Day" with events to acknowledge and celebrate the formation of Maynard on April 19, 1871. Events took place April 16 and 17. Saturday's program included a talk "How Maynard Became Maynard" by David Mark, local historian. It was taped by WAVM. The complete program was on the town's website and in the 4/14/16 Beacon-Villager.

No Maynard Founders' Day event in 2017. For 2018, there will be a lecture at the Maynard Public Library "How Maynard Became Maynard" by David Mark, evening of 4/19/2018, 7:00-8:30 PM.

The clockface should have shown 12:10 rather than 1:00 as the former was
the time of the official sounding of the fire station fire horn for more than
100 years - until the horn broke in 2012 and was not fixed. Click on
the town medal (below) to see the image that became the town Seal.
The inaugural celebrations marking the founding of Maynard, April 19, 1871, are described in great detail in the 1921 book "A Brief History of Maynard." Drawing on newspaper accounts of the time, the first town meeting, on April 27th, just eight days after the Commonwealth had granted the petition to create the town, met for the purpose of electing key officials, and then ended early, to turn to the celebrations.

The celebratory parade included the Eagle Cornet Band, IOGT (International Order of Good Templars), mill representatives, the Amateur Brass Band, St. Bridget Temperance and Benevolent Society, students, and town officials. A Revolutionary War cannon was borrowed from Concord. The Treasurer's Report recorded $14 spent on gunpowder.    

David Griffin (L) and Paul Boothroyd (R), members of the Maynard Historical
Society, hold the original of the 1870 petition to create a new town from
parts of Acton, Concord, Stow and Sudbury. Click on photo to enlarge.
A note here on the 'founders' of Maynard. Histories of the town list as founders the 71 men who signed a petition dated January 26, 1871. There is more history behind this history. Months earlier there had been a petition with 68 signees to create a town, name not yet selected, to encompass small parts of Acton and Concord in addition to larger portions of Sudbury and Stow. This was never submitted to the state legislature. The second petition gave up annexing the gunpowder mill land from the first two towns. Subsequent to this official petition there were three additional supporting petitions. All tallied, the count came to 209 men who favored the creation of a new town. (Women not achieving a right to vote until 1920.)

Stow and Sudbury were against the idea, as the proposed new town would take roughly 50 percent of their populations. Stow residents circulated petitions which garnered about 140 signatures. Sudbury held a vote at Town Meeting, 183 against and 88 for. In disregard of this opposition (and perhaps influenced by some undocumented lobbying), the request to form a new town was granted. Some people who petitioned for the new town ended up not in it, as the final map was smaller than what had been proposed.   

Amory Maynard was not among the signees although he was perhaps the largest landowner and also part owner and manager of the woolen mill. His sons Lorenzo and William signed, and Lorenzo became the town's first Treasurer and Tax Collector. An account of the day, in the Hudson newspaper, had this comment on how the town came to be named: "Mr. Maynard is the chief founder of the community now incorporated in his name. He is a taking man withal, and his personal christening of the new town is a popular acknowledgement of his agency in its birth and breeding."

Milestone anniversaries have been celebrated in various ways. There is no mention in the Town's Annual Report of 1896 about any events to mark the 25th anniversary. Nationally, there was a recession going on, and the mill would go bankrupt in 1898, so perhaps everyone was distracted.

The 50th anniversary was a huge event. According to the program, church observances on Sunday, April 17th, school observances on Monday, and on Tuesday morning a 50-gun salute and a parade of an estimated 1,000 people down Main, Nason and Summer Streets. Speeches by Governor Cox and Senator Gibbs followed. Local veterans of the Civil War (!), Spanish-American War and the Great War participated. Afternoon activities included Glee Club and choir singing, a band concert and ball game - Maynard versus Concord - at Crowe Park.

Medal struck to celebrate the 100th
anniversary in 1971. Image later
chosen to become the Town Seal.
Amory Maynard on the centennial
medal. Designed by Gerard D'Errico.
 Likewise, the 100th anniversary was a huge event. Really huge! Celebration was pushed to June - perhaps in hope of better weather? Ten days of celebrations included picnics, concerts and performances, capped by a parade and fireworks on July 4th.

The 125th anniversary celebration, in 1996, appears to have been a subdued affair. The Maynard Historical Committee published a collection of essays on town history. One puzzle: there are photos of the Olympic Torch being carried through Maynard by a young runner. It turns out that the torch was in Massachusetts on June 15th to be relayed along the entire route of the Boston Marathon, and whilst in the state, visited many other towns, including Maynard and Stow.

This year, Maynard celebrated its 145th anniversary as first annual "Founder's Day" via various events held April 16 and 17, throughout the town. Much of the organizing was accomplished by Maynard High School student Haley Fritz as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project, in collaboration with the Board of Selectmen, Maynard Business Alliance, and Maynard Historical Commission.

Looking into the future, the Maynard Historical Commission is beginning to make plans for the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary celebration, April 2021.

Fifty of David Mark’s 2012-2014 columns were published in book "Hidden History of Maynard" available at The Paper Store, on-line, and as an e-book. It includes a chapter on how Maynard became Maynard. 

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