Hello, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all! All of a sudden the holiday season is upon us, one that will be very different than so many past seasons. Still, in a year full of challenges, we look forward to this season of hope and joy.
I call your attention to a flyer from our friends at the Easton Garden Club, which is attached. This year, due to all of the restrictions, we will host the Easton Garden Club's Annual Greens Sale a little differently. It will be held on Saturday, December 5, from 9 a.m. to noon. All of the events will be outside, and our building will be closed for that morning. If you look at the flyer, you will see that wreaths can be pre-ordered. There will be very limited browsing due to the need to socially distance, so you are strongly encouraged to pre-order and take advantage of curbside pickup that morning. Of course, masks will also be required. You can check out the Easton Garden Club website at https://www.eastongardenclub.org/about-us or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EastonGardenClub for up-to-date details and information.
We are getting our plans together for December as well, and next week, we will announce some specials to help you with your gift-giving needs! Stay tuned!
Just in time for cooking that Thanksgiving meal, today's historical item is one you will be familiar with. Attached is a photo of a skimmer, a spoon with holes to allow for straining liquids. According to legend, it was made "before the incorporation of the Town" (that is, before 1725) by a fellow named "Old Bunn." "Old Bunn" is a nickname of one Benjamin Eddy who is referenced in Chaffin's History of Easton. According to Chaffin, "Old Bunn" went by a number of aliases during this time here. He appears to be of French and Native American descent and came down from Canada around the time of the French and Indian wars. He was a skilled woodcarver, who tried to earn a living by helping out local farmers, working for food and board. At times he would carve a useful item to help out the housewives. Our skimmer was made by him and passed down through the Williams family by Mary Williams who lived on Bay Road and was a longtime school teacher. She was related by marriage to the Keith family as well, and between the two families, had several farms and taverns along the stretch of Bay Road near the Wheaton Farm area. It is possible that this utensil was made for use by one of those early settlers. One could use the skimmer for several reasons: skimming the cream off of milk; skimming the fat off of stews (that could be used later to make soap); or, as we like to tell the second graders when they visit, may have been useful to remove flies, etc. from the stewpot that was simmering out in the open air! One can imagine a number of uses, I am sure.
Unfortunately, woodcarving was not in itself enough support, and by the 1760's "Old Bunn" and his family turned to thieving to supplement their income. Even the kids were involved! He had such a reputation for this that, at one time after being charged for something he actually did not steal, he stated that "people are stealing on my good credit." Eddy lived in a number of abandoned homes in and around Easton and Raynham for some years, being chased from neighborhood to neighborhood. He disappeared from the record in the late 1780's. If this skimmer is as old as the legend says, he must have been a young man when he made it. Probably the date is a little later, and Eddy made this sometime after his arrival to town.
Up in the woods near the Easton / Mansfield line, not far from where Walnut Street once ran through the woods, is the remains of a former Eddy farm, dating to the 1800's. I walked it many times. One wonders if perhaps a child or grandchild eventually settled down and found some peace. Still this was a pretty secluded place in those days, and maybe was just the right place to settle down, away from people and the reputation left by forebears.
I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving, and until next week, stay well.
Curator: Frank Meninno