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The tenth Anniversary banquet, October 29, 1907.1

The Somerville Historical Society celebrated its tenth anniversary on Tuesday evening in Unitarian Hall in a manner befitting the organization, when the traditions dear to the heart of Somerville citizens were recalled as the foundation for true civic pride and loyalty. An informal reception was followed by a banquet in the lower hall, after which came the speech-making. Although the attendance was not as large as anticipated, on account of the weather, many representative people of the city were in attendance. Chief amongst the evening's guests was Aaron Sargent, who was eighty-five years of age on the day of the celebration, and who found himself the recipient of numerous congratulations.

The banquet hall was adorned with flags, several of which are valued possessions of the society. A Betsey Ross flag, with thirteen stars, also several other colonial flags, graced the walls, and were objects of much interest. The various tables were strewn with pinks and ferns, and a large basket of flowers ornamented the head table. While the banquet, one of Hicks' excellent affairs, was being served, Green's orchestra discoursed a delightful programme of music.

Frank M. Hawes, president of the society, opened the speech-making with words of greeting to the tenth anniversary celebration, and called upon William B. Holmes, treasurer of the organization, for a sketch of the society.2 Aaron Sargent was next presented, and in his opening remarks expressed his great desire that a creditable Somerville history should be shortly produced. He then read a paper on ‘The First Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.’3 [74]

Mr. Hawes then called upon Charles D. Elliot to act as toastmaster. Mr. Elliot proved himself most adept in his introduction of the various speakers, and first referred to the letters of regret received from Admiral Merry, President Hamilton, of Tufts College, Professors Dolbear, Bolles, and Maulsby, and others who were expected.

The first toast proposed by him was: ‘Somerville, like Rome, sits on her seven hills, each crowned with an historic halo.’4 This was responded to by Mayor Charles A. Grimmons, who was warmly applauded at the close.

He was followed by Major Edward Glines, whose toast was: ‘Massachusetts, the brightest star in the national constellation.’5 Mr. Glines brought the congratulations of Governor Guild as he spoke for the old Bay state in eloquent words. John F. Ayer, former president of the society and founder of the Bay State League, was called upon as the ‘bard of Wakefield’ to speak for the League, and opened his remarks by reading a rhyme merrily dedicated to Mr. Elliot.

Chief James R. Hopkins was asked to speak for ‘The Blessing of the Bay, the First Ship of Our Navy,’ and much interest was created in his remarks as he produced a large piece of log from the old wharf or way in the Mystic River, where the Blessing of the Bay was launched in 1631.

‘In May, 1892,’ he remarked, ‘I left the Central fire station with William A. Perry and William A. Burbank, both members of the fire department. We called at the Forster School for the master, John S. Hayes. Together we went to the shore of the Mystic, near the Wellington Bridge. The time selected was when the tide was low. Getting down to the edge of the water, the mud was scraped from the logs and the axe driven in. The wood was soft, almost pulp, and had a strong odor of marsh gas. After getting all that was wanted, we returned to the Central fire station. There have been made from this wood threes vases and two gavels. One of the gavels is possessed by the Masonic order, another by the Somerville Historical Society. No more of this wood can now be obtained.’

Chief Hopkins referred to the grand ball at the incorporation [75] of the town in 1842, and closed by quoting the toast of Mrs. Nancy Thorning Munroe upon that occasion: ‘Somerville, her three hills, Spring Hill, Winter Hill, Prospect Hill. May her spring ever be fresh, her winter ever green, and her prospect ever glorious.’

Miss Elizabeth A. Waters spoke for the charities of Somerville, on account of her connection with the Somerville Samaritan Society, the precursor of the Associated Charities. Her toast was: ‘The Good Samaritan.’

Will S. Eddy, president of the Bay State League, and ofthe Medford Historical Society, spoke for ‘Medford, the Emerald of the Mystic,’ and Miss Mary E. Elliot spoke stirringly on ‘Woman and Patriotism.’ Leon M. Conwell, editor of the Somerville Journal, was the last speaker called upon, and made brief remarks upon ‘The Press—the Preserver of Passing Events and Moulder of Public Opinion.’

After the speeches the president presented the basket of flowers from the head table to Mr. Sargent, and then brought the exercises to a close.

1 arranged from the report published in the Somerville Journal, November 1, 1907.

2 See page 75.

3 See page 18.

4 See page 80.

5 See page 82.

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