Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Maynard's Founding Day Celebrations (1871)

The Gutteridge book, “A Brief History of MAYNARD MASS.”, published in 1921, included as an appendix a newspaper article about Maynard’s founding-day celebrations, published in The Hudson Pioneer, April 29, 1871. Excerpts:

“On Thursday of this week the new town of Maynard held its first town meeting in Riverside Hall [what later became Gruber Bros. Furniture]… Selectmen choices were made of Asahel Balcom, Henry Fowler, Jonathan P. Bent.”

Iola Lodge, International Order of the Grand Templars (1900)
The meeting was adjourned so there could be a parade, with “…the line of procession in the following order: First division: Escort Henry Wilson, Encampment 86, G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic], Eagle Cornet Band, Iola Lodge, I.O.G.T. [International Order of the Grand Templars], and mill operatives. Second division: Amateur Brass Band, St. Bridget Temperance and Benevolent Society, Public Schools, citizens and visitors in carriages bring up the rear. The procession presented a very fine appearance, and numbered over 1000. At intervals along the line the stars and stripes and the standard of the St. Bridget Society fluttered gaily in the breeze, adding greatly to the liveliness of the scene… the line proceeded down Main St. past the Glendale House [hotel, where Memorial Park is now] down Nason St. and Main St., and passed up to the west end of the village, then returned to Riverside Hall, where it was dismissed by the Marshal, with the request that as many as could would meet at Riverside Hall in the evening for a continuation of the ceremonies, consisting of music by the bands, singing by the Glee Club, and speeches…”

“As one of the attractions of the day, it was proposed to raise a flag staff on Pompositticut Hill [now Summer Hill]. At the appointed time, at the signal discharged from an ancient piece of artillery, a large flag was flung out from the staff welcoming all to the gala scene over which it floated… The cannon procured for the occasion from Concord, a relic of the Revolutionary War, is a six-pounder brass piece, which was placed in position at the west end of the ‘old north bridge,’ and did its share in repelling the regulars on that memorable morning in April 1775. Perhaps from its brazen throat echoed back a hearty “amen” in thunder tones, to the sharp ringing crack of that musket whose voice ‘was heard round the world.’” [The cannon mention is not true. At no point in the battle of April 19, 1775, did the Minuteman militia use cannons. A “six-pounder” would have been a cannon that fired six-pound cannonballs.]

“Assabet has got divorced from Stow, and repudiated even her maiden name. This act is in keeping with modern developments of womankind, showing as it does a natural desire for independence coupled still with a lurking fondness for the masculine gender. The new town takes the name of Maynard. There is probably some pecuniary motive to the christening, though we only know that the outside public is a little discommoded by the change… But the nascent vogue of naming towns by monetary impulse is mischievous by its indifference to verbal taste. [Text mentions that what became Hudson, carved out of Marlborough in 1866, had been long-time known as Feltonville, after a general store operator named Silas Felton, until Congressman Charles Hudson, who had been born there, promised to donate $500 toward a new library. Hence the mention of monetary impulse.] Doubtless Miss Assabet, alias Miss Stow, had a proper reason for her predilection. 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.”

According to the centennial history book History of Maynard, 1871-1891, “…the new name was chosen to honor mill-founder Amory Maynard by unanimous vote of the citizens.” There is no record of a vote being taken. The “Fowler Petition” proposing creation of a new town, dated January 26, 1871, has a line drawn under the place for the town’s name, with “Maynard” written in, in a different hand. Presumably, that was completed before the petition was submitted. An 1870 petition, never submitted, had not included a name for the proposed town. Three petitions submitted after the Fowler Petition all had “Maynard” as the proposed name. Interestingly, Amory Maynard was not a signer of any of the petitions, although sons Lorenzo and William signed. All signers were male.   

The Maynard family crypt, where Amory, Mary  
and son Harlan reside. Lorenzo and William 
are elsewhere. Click on photo to enlarge.
The appendix also included an obituary for Amory Maynard (1804-1890), from the Boston Herald. Excerpts: “March 5, 1890 Amory Maynard died in his home in Maynard at 7:10 this morning. He had been incapacitated for any business for about seven years [elsewhere described as a stroke]. While attempting to ascend a flight of stairs in his residence, he lost his footing and fell backward, striking on the side of his head… all places of business in town will be closed. The internment will occur in Glenwood Cemetery, and the body is to be laid in the handsome tomb which he had constructed some time ago [1880]. He had accumulated a large property, estimated at a million dollars, through his own exertions, coupled with the efforts of his two sons, Lorenzo and William, to whom, it is said, the estate is bequeathed.”

Harlan, a third son had predeceased Amory, as had Mary (Priest) Maynard (1805-1886), Amory’s wife of 60 years. Calculating for inflation, a million dollars in 1890 – when a factory worker was paid $2/day for 10-hour days – equates to more than $20 million in today’s dollars. Lorenzo managed the mill until it went bankrupt in 1898. Not his fault. In 1894 the federal government had ended protective tariffs on wool cloth entering the country. The tariff was restored in 1897, but too late for Maynard. The American Woolen Company bought it in 1899 and ran it for another 51 years. William had moved to Pasadena in 1885 for reasons of health (tuberculosis). He was well enough by 1888 to move back east, but chose to settle in Worcester. Lorenzo died 1904; no descendants alive today. William died 1906, many living descendants. Mary Augusta Sanderson (1874-1947), William’s granddaughter, was the last descendant to live in Maynard. 

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