Greetings everyone! Today is a beautiful day here at the Museum. Leaves are finally getting their fall colors, the days have been warm and the nights cool. But colder weather is on the horizon, and as soon as we get a real cold snap, those colorful leaves that grace our trees will be on the ground!
Thank you all for supporting us with the Shaw's Give Back Where It Counts program, where we receive $1 for each of these reusable bags purchased in October. To date, twenty-two bags have been purchased (I'll be getting mine this weekend) so half way through the month we are doing good! If you are in the market for a new shopping bag, please consider purchasing one of these special bags to support us!
Two Easton institutions are celebrating landmark anniversaries this month. The Immaculate Conception Church on Main Street is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and Easton Baptist Church at the corner of Bay Road and Rockland Street is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Congratulations to both organizations who have been faithfully serving the Easton area in so many ways for so many years!
Our historical nugget today comes from Joe Evans, Archivist and Museum Collections Manager, Henry W. Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry, Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of California. While going through the collections housed there, he came across a rare document from Easton! Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Evans, that document is now in our collection.
The War of 1812 (June 1812-February 1815) was an unpopular war, and the years leading up to it were a difficult time for our young nation. War between France and Britain caused economic issues for American traders as both France and Britain attempted to block the United States from trading with either of the other countries involved. Lawmakers sometimes took bold stances to support America. One of these men was Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) who had an interesting career in both business and politics (much more successful in politics!). A native of Marblehead, Massachusetts, Gerry rose to prominence following the French and Indian War. He served at the Constitutional Convention, signed the Declaration of Independence, but refused to sign the Constitution until it had the Bill of Rights added to it. Gerry served in politics at various levels, including Governor of Massachusetts, being elected in 1810, and again the following year. However, after some creative redistricting gave him and his party a favorable advantage, and charges of taking money from a lobbyist surfaced, he lost a hard fought battle for re-election in 1812. Using his national connections, he lobbied President James Madison for a position as a Boston customs collector. Madison, however, needed a vice-president, and after joining the ticket, Gerry found himself elected as the 5th Vice-President of the United States. Unfortunately, he took sick in Washington, D.C. and died in office in 1814. Today he is best known for "gerrymandering," the process used to alter districts for one's own or one's party's political advantage. A good biography of him can be found at
Our document, a scan of which is attached, is an official document that attests to Easton's votes for Governor and Lt. Governor during Gerry's ill-fated 1812 re-election bid. This paper would be filed with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to certify the election results of Easton voters. It records 150 votes for Gerry, and 69 votes for his opponent Caleb Strong. The Lt. Governor votes from Easton were 151 votes for William King, and 69 votes for William Phillips. The Selectmen of Easton, Calvin Brett, Daniel Macomber, and Josiah Copeland signed the paper, and Town Clerk Howard Lothrop attested it to be true.
Until next week, stay well,
Anne Wooster Drury