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Report of the Committee on Necrology.

To the Somerville Historical Society: The Committee on Necrology hereby submits its report for 1908-09. The members who have died during the year are Charles D. Elliot, Quincy E. Dickerman, Lemuel H. Snow, Mrs. John F. Ayer, and Charles Williams, Jr. The detailed report follows.

Yours respectfully,

Our esteemed citizen, Charles Williams, Jr., passed away April 14, 1908. He was born in Chelmsford, Mass., March 2, 1830, but very early in his life his parents took up their residence in Claremont, N. H., where most of his school days were spent, and where his father was prominent in town affairs, being sent to the legislature, and interested in all matters pertaining to the betterment of the town. He also made great efforts for the success of the Universalist Church, of which he was a staunch member.

The family, however, removed to Somerville in 1846, and occupied the house then standing on the present site of the Pope School on Washington Street. The house was removed later to Boston Street, and is still occupied by members of one of our old families. Mr. Williams, Sr., removed to the house which he built on Cross Street, and members of the family are still residing there. Charles Williams, Sr., was born in Milton, Mass. His wife, Rebecca Frost, was born in Charlestown, Mass.

It will be seen that Charles Williams, Jr., was sixteen years old when the family became permanent residents of this city, and he had the educational advantages only which the town of Claremont, N. H., and this city afforded at that time. But he very early showed his preferences and turn of mind for a mechanical career, especially in the department of electricity, which [21] led him later into the manufacture of telegraph and telephone instruments, and which by patient and untiring efforts crowned his life with success. For it was in his office and factory that Professor Bell, the famous telephone inventor, was able to express and explain his ideas, and finally to perfect, with the aid of Mr. Williams' technical knowledge of instruments, that machine, the telephone, which has revolutionized the whole business and social departments of the world by the quick transmission of speech. Mr. Williams had the distinguished reputation of having manufactured every telephone instrument in the world until 1885. In the year of his retirement from active participation in business, the manufacture of telephones was transferred to the Western Electric Company of Chicago, where his interests continued to within a year of his death.

Mr. Williams married in 1864 Caroline Adelaide Cole, third daughter of MrCole and Mrs. Erastus E. Cole, residents of this city from the year 1846. Mr. Williams followed in the faith of his father, in the Cross Street Universalist Church. His father, asssociated with Edwin Munroe, Erastus E. Cole, and others, was one of the founders and builders of the First Church, and when it was completed Mr. Williams, Sr., became the first superintendent of the Sunday School, remaining its head for many years. Upon his retirement, he was succeeded as superintendent by his son, Charles Williams, Jr. Mr. Williams always retained his interest in the church, and was willing to contribute to its support. He left a widow and two children. The children of the union were: Lester Holmes Williams, now resident of Medford; Herbert Farmer Coe Williams, who died in 1879 at five years of age; and Mrs. Mary Williams Kidder, a resident of Winchester.

Mr. Williams was of very quiet disposition, extremely fond of books and reading, and with an ambition for traveling the wide world over, in which he took great pleasure, having visited all places of interest in his own country, and a number in foreign lands, until about ten years ago, when, overtaken by disease, he rested in his beautiful home, happy in the society of his books, [22] and in his deep affection for wife, children, and all members of his family.

Vashti Eunice Ayer

(Prepared by Miss Elizabeth L. Waters.)
Vashti Eunice Ayer was born in Norwich, Conn., June 29, 1845, daughter of Nahum R. Hapgood, of Shrewsbury, and Emily (Chase) Hapgood, of Sutton. She was educated in the public schools of Worcester, and graduated from the Worcester High School in 1864. She taught in the schools of Worcester, Newton, and Somerville (in Somerville at the Prescott School). She was assistant to the superintendent of schools of Somerville from 1893 to 1897. She was married to John F. Ayer October 14, 1897. From 1898 to 1904 she served the Somerville Historical Society as corresponding secretary. She died at Wakefield April 13, 1908.

Gordon A. Southworth, superintendent of schools, said of her:—

Possessed of rich natural endowments, refined and cultivated in her tastes, a lover of the best in literature, nature, and art, cheerful, kind, generous, and loving, Mrs. Ayer impressed all who knew her with the strength and beauty of her character. For many years unusual burdens fell to her lot, which she bore with exemplary patience and fortitude. Long a teacher in Worcester, Somerville, and Newton, she left the impress of her character upon the minds and hearts of hundreds, by whom she will be long remembered.

Called to a position of responsibility in the administrative department of the Somerville public schools, she displayed executive and business ability of a high order, winning by her geniality and tact the confidence and regard of all.

Lemuel Harlow Snow was born in Eastham July 5, 1823, and died May 6, 1908, in Somerville. He had come to Somerville sixty years before with his father, who was a well-known carpenter in the town. Mr. Snow was for many years a street car conductor on the old Cambridge Street Railway. [23]

Before Somerville became a city, he was for a few years a patrolman, and from 1875 to 1878 performed similar duties after the incorporation of the city. From 1878 to 1886 he was engaged in carpentry with a brother. In the latter year he was chosen truant officer, and fulfilled these duties faithfully and generously until his death. During the twenty-two years of his service he proved himself very efficient. His interest in the delinquent child was more than official, and tended to the correction and improvement of boys and girls who might otherwise have become criminals. Besides his membership in the Somerville Historical Society, Mr. Snow belonged to John Abbot Lodge, A. F. and A. M., Oasis Lodge, I. O. O. F., and Wonohaquaham Tribe of Red Men. He was also a member of the Massachusetts Truant Officers' Association. He left a widow.

Quincy E. Dickerman.

(Acknowledgments to the Somerville Journal.)

Quincy E. Dickerman was born in Stoughton July 15, 1828. He was educated in the Stoughton schools and the Bridgewater Normal School. Before graduation he had charge of a winter school in the town of Dartmouth. Later he taught at Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard, at Fairhaven, and at Sharon. Then he went to Phillips Andover Academy to fit for college. But he spent only a short time there, for the school committee of Stoughton called him to teach in his home town. Here he continued at work until he came to Boston in 1856. Besides his duties as principal of the grammar school, he was elected a member of the school board of Stoughton, and later was secretary, and then chairman of the school committee. In December, 1856, Mr. Dickerman was appointed ‘usher’ in the Mayhew School, Boston, of which Samuel Swan was then master. Four years later the title ‘usher’ was changed to sub-master, and in this position Mr. Dickerman continued until the abandonment of the Mayhew School in 1876, when he was transferred to the Brimmer School. In November, 1880, he was elected master of the Brimmer School, and held this position until 1906, when he resigned, after thirty years service in the school. [24]

Mr. Dickerman was a successful disciplinarian, although strongly opposed to corporal punishment. He made a specialty of reading and declamation. He was also personally interested in physical science, including chemistry, geology, and mineralogy. He was successful in interesting his pupils in these subjects, and also in developing among them good habits and manly character.

Mr. Dickerman became a member of the Somerville school board in 1880, and served twenty-six consecutive years; he seldom missed a meeting. No other member has served so long. He showed himself progressive,—desirous that the Somerville schools should have the best methods and the best teachers that the city could afford. He introduced the anti-cigarette order, which was adopted by the board in the year 1901. He was a warm advocate of manual training. Before his retirement the board passed resolutions highly complimentary of his services.

Mr. Dickerman married, November 25, 1862, Rebecca M. Perkins, daughter of Joseph P. and Sarah P. Perkins, of Charlestown. His wife had taught as the first assistant in the Warren School, Charlestown. In 1869 Mr.Dickerman and Mrs. Dickerman moved to Somerville, and in 1872 built the house corner of Central Street and Highland Avenue, which they occupied until the death of Mrs. Dickerman in January, 1906. Mr. Dickerman died January 25, 1909.

He was a member of Soley Lodge, A. F. and A. M., a past high priest of Somerville Royal Arch Chapter, a trustee of the Somerville Hospital from its organization, a member of the Winter Hill Congregational Church, the Appalachian Club, and the Somerville Historical Society.

Two children survive him, Frank E. Dickerman, of Somerville, and Mrs. Grace H., wife of Henry S. Hayward, of Mankato, Minn.

Two interesting oil paintings of Mr. Dickerman are in existence, one by Wallace Bryant, now in the house of his son, 47 Craigie Street, and the other a full-length portrait by Alfred Smith, in the Brimmer School, Boston.

(Acknowledgments to the Somerville Journal.)

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