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Abijah Thompson's ‘Gleanings.’

We are gladly presenting a communication, inadvertently overlooked by a former editor, and which has but recently come to our notice. Its author, Abijah Thompson, was, at the time of writing and for some years, a member of the Medford Historical Society, and its library received many accessions from him. He was a native of Woburn, his ancestors being early settlers there. The locality which he describes has not altogether outgrown the name of Thompsonville.

Two brooks converged there, and his forebears conserved the water power, establishing a leather business. The oak-tanned leather of A. Thompson & Co. had a wide reputation for its standard quality. His uncle Abijah, for whom he was named, was the senior partner [p. 40] and bore the military title of General, though it was acquired in ‘the piping times of peace.’ His father, Benjamin Franklin, removed to South Woburn, establishing himself there in the leather business. He also had a title, as he was chosen deacon of the Congregational Church, which was formed in this new section of Woburn, which in 1850, with slices of West Cambridge and Medford territory, became the town of Winchester.

Deacon Benjamin Thompson continued in office and in business until 1864, and was succeeded in the latter by his sons Abijah and Stephen. The former was especially interested in historic matters, and paid much attention to the preservation of the annals of his native and later home towns. We recall that in the ‘60s he planned for the erection of a residence beside the Aberjona, laying out a miniature park, planting trees and building bridges across the stream. But for some reason he ceased work there and erected a pleasant dwelling-place in the west part of the town and there resided for many years. In the former place he was years in advance of the times; but present ‘Manchester field’ is the site of his father's factory, and the improved Aberjona, with its island and bridges, is a part of the Metropolitan park system.

When the Winchester Historical Society was in operation he was interested in its work. For some years he was mainly instrumental in publishing the Winchester Press. The weekly issues of that paper contained many articles written by him, or secured by him from others, which form a highly interesting narrative and trustworthy basis of a town history.1

This must have been a labor of love on the part of Abijah Thompson, appreciated by some of his townsmen —and unappreciated by many others.

The Winchester Historical Society is now inoperative, but during its active days published two volumes which contain much of interest, including papers read at its [p. 41] years, but during its issue, through Mr. Thompson's efforts, preserved much of local history. He doubtless experienced some pleasure and satisfaction in so doing, and his ‘Gleanings’ in this issue of the Register shows that he did not confine his effort and interest to his home town. But at last, as the burden of years was upon him, he gave up his congenial tasks. His last days were of physical weakness, and spent with relatives in our city, where he recently passed away.

Who will take up his favorite work and fill the blanks in his ‘Gleanings’ of nearly twenty years ago?

1 In the library of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society these articles, clipped from the Press, are carefully arranged in order, mounted on blank paper and suitably bound in book form under the title of History of Winchester, Mass.

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