More information on this image is available at the Easton Historical Society in North Easton, MA
Frederick Law Olmsted Rockery
The Frederick Law Olmsted Rockery was the site of many com-munity events during the 1900s. At the beginning of the century, the weekly Anna C. Ames summer band concerts were extremely popular. The bandstand was constructed in 1916. By the end of the century the lighting of the Rockery as part of the Holiday Festival became the highlight. The festival was started by the North Easton Village Merchants Association in 1987, and by 1991 the responsibility was assumed by the Easton Lions Club.
source: Memories of Twentieth Century Easton, Easton Historical Society, 2000
Financed by Mrs. Anna C. Ames, the widow of Governor Oliver Ames, the Ames Gymnasium was constructed in 1902 for physical education classes, athletic events, and band practice for students at Oliver Ames High School. All the instructors and equipment for these educational opportunities were provided by Mrs. Ames. Mrs. Ames died in 1917, and three years later Mrs. Louis A. Frothingham bought the building and added to it. The southern end was for the American Legion, and the northern end had lockers and showers added for the students using the gym. The center part was also used for meetings, particularly by the Red Cross of which she was president. In 1930 other renovations occurred when the addition to the high school was completed, and the name of the building was changed to Frothingham Memorial Hall in memory of her husband. For the next four decades many organizations met there regularly in addition to its being used for special occasions. July 1, 1973 the hall was leased to the Easton School System for open classroom space in relation to the Middle School. When the facility was no longer needed by the School Department, it was leased to the Frothingham Branch of the Old Colony YMCA. During the last eighteen years many people have enjoyed these facilities of the Old Colony Y.
source, Memories of Twentieth Century Easton, Easton Historical Society, 2000
source: Easton Historical Society
On December 3, 1902, Anna Coffin Ray Ames hosted the opening of the Ames Gymnasium at 15 Barrows Street with a starting time of 7:30 – Prompt. – The building was for physical education classes, athletic events, and band practice for students at Oliver Ames High School across Barrows Street. Mrs. Ames provided teachers and equipment for educational enhancements for the students.
source: Easton Historical Society
Anna C. Ames Band
The Anna C. Ames Band established a strong music tradition for the community which became a fundamental part of Easton’s school programs throughout the century under the leadership of Robert D. King, Ruth Ashley, Douglas W. Anderson and others.
source, Memories of Twentieth Century Easton, Easton Historical Society, 2000
Oliver Ames High Band
The original Oliver Ames High Band in 1901. The older men in the image were members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra brought to Easton by Mrs. Anna C. Ames of 35 Oliver Street in North Easton, Massachusetts to instruct and assist the group.
source: Looking Back At Easton Massachusetts, 1989
The Pioneer of Today’s Easton School Bands
written by Marietta Canan
The heritage of the Oliver Ames High School Marching Band that we know today began with a band that Anna C. Ames, widow of Governor Oliver Ames, began funding in 1899. The first members of this program for boys included Thomas J. Canan, later the father to Marietta Canan, who wrote the historical article below. Instruments, uniforms, music, and instructors were paid for and purchased directly by Mrs. Ames. A weekly rehearsal was usually held after school and sometimes on Saturdays. The 1908 Town Report indicated that rehearsals were held 48 out of the 52 weeks. A boy had to be in the ninth grade to try out for a position. One to four instructors were involved under the direction of H.E. Brenton during the life of Mrs. Ames. A graduate could still attend rehearsals and participate in the summer concerts that were held on the steps of Oakes Ames Memorial Hall until a bandstand at the Rockery was built in 1916. The alumni originally assumed the title Anna C. Ames Band, later, A.C. Ames Band. By 1913, all the band members, both the Oliver Ames High School students and the alumni, were considered part of the Anna C. Ames Band. The 1913 graduation program lists the – Prelude – and the – March – being performed by the Anna C. Ames Band. After Mrs. Ames’ s death in 1917, the band continued under the patronage of her younger son, Oakes Ames, and the direction of Walter M. Smith, until 1932. During the fall session of the Oliver Ames High School in the year of 1899, there was considerable excitement among the pupils for some few weeks, since it was learned through Mr. J. Edmund Shepherdson, the teacher of music, that a band of thirty-two pieces was to be selected from the pupils then going to high school. Before this excitement had gained much momentum, it was learned that Mrs. Anna C. Ames, widow of Oliver Ames, the former Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was to be the benefactor. It has been written that at the tum of the century, Mrs. Ames felt the need of a musical organization to benefit the growth of music among the young people in the town of Easton, and decided to not only provide the thirty-odd pupils of the high school with instructions, but also with the finest of instruments and uniforms eventually. It has been further stated that in so doing, Mrs. Ames was probably the forerunner of our present day system of school instrumental music. The Boston Herald of Saturday, February 1, 1902, states as follows: – This band is no mere hobby, Mrs. Ames has a very definite purpose in mind. That of forming a club for boys and at the same time giving it an object that would not only provide amusement, but, profit as well. Her first object was to keep the boys off the street, and she certainly had assembled as bright and happy a lot of young musicians as you can find anywhere. – It was in the early part of April, 1900, that the band actually got together for their first full rehearsal. The four instructors, Harold E. Brenton, Comet, and director, from the Boston Symphony Orchestra; LeRoy Kenfield, trombone, also of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Harry Bettoney, clarinet and well-known publisher in Boston; and Frank Dodge, drum instructor and member of the Boston Opera Orchestra – all joined in with the young members of the band and played for their first march, the – Wine Blein Wein. -This first rehearsal took place in what was always known as Miss Fairchild’s room in the High School. What a treat and thrill this was to all of the members, and especially to Mrs. Ames and her family, who attended, staying near to the classroom in the rotunda of the high school. The instruments were the finest that could be procured anywhere. The reed instruments were bought in Paris, the brass instruments were procured from the famous C.G. Conn Company, and the drums came from the Dodge Brothers Drum Company. In fact, the band was a full instrumental band with the exception of the oboe and the bassoon. The four instructors made weekly visits to the high school (sometimes twice a week) to give individual lessons and rehearsals of the entire band membership as well. It goes without saying that during the early days of the Oliver Ames High School Band, due to the kindness and wonderful spirit of Mrs. Ames, the boys always manifested personal responsibility and realization of what was being done for them, at the same time seeking and gaining many additional friendships and good recreation, which they were very fortunate to get at that time. When the band first started, the instruments were all tuned to what was commonly known then as – high-pitch, – but, after several years, the instrumentation was gradually changed to the so-called international pitch, which was most generally performed on by the musicians of those days. Those who were members at the start of the band in the early part of 1900 were as follows: W. Alden Hall, Baritone, after leaving high school he was admitted to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and became a captain in the United States Navy; Timothy L. Cotter, Trombone, took up the playing of the trombone as a livelihood, and not only played in theatres in Brockton, but also in Boston, as well as with the famous Martland Band at Paragon Park, and the famous Naval Brigade Band of Boston; Harold Thayer, Clarinet, after graduating from high school, went to college and took up engineering; Clarence Galligan, Trombone; after graduating from high school, went to Harvard University and took up horticulture; Fred G. LeRoy, Bass Hom; played with the band for a few years after graduating and then moved elsewhere and has passed away; William Holmes, was similar to Mr. LeRoy, Daniel Kelley, Clarinet, after graduating from high school and went to Holy Cross College. He has since passed away; Daniel Belcher, Clarinet, after graduating from high school, went to college and moved elsewhere; Ralph C. Williams, Clarinet, did the same as Mr. Belcher and passed away; Francis D. Callahan, Trombone, after graduating from high school and went to Holy Cross College and became a Catholic priest where he died while serving as pastor of the Catholic Church in Wareham, Massachusetts; Vernon C. King, Cornet, after graduating from high school and went to engineering college and moved to Worcester; James L. Linehan, Drums, after graduating from high school, played with the band for a few years and then moved to Portland, Maine; James D. Canan, Drums; although going to a preparatory school in Boston and played with the band for several years before taking up steady employment in theatre orchestras; F. Guild Dana, Comet, a few years after graduating from high school and moved to Washington; 0. Earle Welles, Drums; stayed a member of the band for twelve year and then became a permanent member of the famous Martland Band and has passed away; Frank L. Wills, Comet, after graduating from high school and playing with the band for a few years and moved with his family to Wollaston, Massachusetts; Patrick A. O’Connor, Bass Hom, shortly after graduating from high school when he moved to Colorado and passed away; James P. Downey, Comet, after graduating from high school and played with the band for several years then moved elsewhere and came back to North Easton; James Sweeney, Hom, and Thomas Pierce, Hom; both were members of the band while they were in high school; William A. Nagle, Drums, was a member of the band while in high school and a few years after graduating; John A. McNamara, Clarinet, played while in high school and went to Holy Cross College and Boston University Law School, becoming an attorney and passed away; Arthur F. Anderson, Comet; and Thomas J. Canan, Piccolo, were the two members of the band that remained with and played with both the Oliver Ames High School Band and the A.C. Ames Band from the beginning of the former to the dissolution of the latter. All of these young men just mentioned are shown in a picture taken in the fall of 1902 in front of the newly built Ames Gymnasium. In addition to the young men shown in the picture, the following three pupils in the high school were also original members: Michael F. Dailey, Bass Hom; after graduating from high school and Dartmouth and was a prominent surgeon has passed away; John F. Kimball, Drums, after graduating from high school and played with the band for a few more years and went to an engineering school; John J. O’Connell, Comet, after a few years in the band and his family moved out of town. Upon the completion of the Ames Gymnasium, now Frothingham Memorial Hall in 1902, the rehearsals and lessons of the band members were transferred to this beautiful building. From 1902 to 1906, inclusive, there were over twenty high school pupils that became members of the band, taking lessons on their respective instruments, and playing with the band for a period of three or four years before leaving to go into employment or to go on to college. They were: Fred Beales, Drums; Bert Pierce, Saxophone; Timothy Leary, Saxophone; Horace Mitchel, Comet; Winthrop Jones, Piccolo; Fred Clarke, Clarinet; George Leonard, Clarinet; Arthur Carlson, Clarinet; John Harlow, Drums; Ripley Archer, Drums; and Hobart C. Anderson,Trombone, joined the band in 1906 and remained as a member of both bands after attending high school.
Oliver Ames High School Marching Band – A. C . Band
Concerts – Parades – Engagements
For a great number of years, the band always participated in the May 30th Memorial Day exercises in our town. Back then, America always celebrated Memorial Day on May 30th. The first Memorial Day was a great thrill for all the young members, and occurred in 1901, at which time the band was reinforced by five Boston Symphony men. For many years, they would always play the Fourth of July at the occasions that Mrs. Anna C. Ames would give the townspeople, in front of her residence at 35 Oliver Street. On May 25, 1905, they had their first out-of-town parade to play in. This was for the National Convention of the Knights Templars, on which occasion the band was enlarged to fifty members by being assisted by twenty of the Boston Symphony players. In 1910, fourteen free summer concerts were given, as well as twelve paying concerts, three of which were in Boston. Some of the money received was divided among the participants based on attendance. For three consecutive seasons in 1911, 1912, and 1913, the band had a series of Sunday concerts during the summer, playing in the afternoon at Sabbatia Park in Taunton, and in the evening in Norton Square. The concerts were under the direction of Mr. Brenton. About the year 1912 (no record of the exact date), the band of forty-two pieces gave a concert in the Tremont Temple in Boston, at the occasion of the National Teachers Educational Association Convention. This concert was under the direction of Mr. Bettoney, and it was a very memorable event. Another large parade that the band participated in, in the city of Boston, was during the women’s suffrage campaign. This was sometime previous to 1916. On this occasion, the A.C. Ames band led the parade with a membership of forty-two musicians under the direction of Mr. Brenton. The famous dancer of those days, Virginia Tanner, was the drum majorette. For many years, and up to 1916, the band, under the direction of Mr. Brenton, gave weekly concerts during the summers on the steps of the Oakes Ames Memorial Hall. In 1916, the town voted $500.00 to be raised and appropriated to build a bandstand in North Easton. This was done, and the bandstand stood in the lot opposite the post office in North Easton until the year 1941, when it was tom down, being no longer used. All the concerts played during the summer months, which came on Monday nights under the direction of Mr. Walter M. Smith, were given from the bandstand under the Rockery. From 1907 on to the time of Mrs. Ames’ death in 1917, the following nineteen pupils of the high school became members of the A.C. Ames Band, and while in high school, they played with the band in parades and concerts. However, upon graduation or leaving school, they went into employment or to college: George Mason, Drums; Joseph Wilkins, Horn; Peter Harvey, Hom; Ray Hutchinson, Comet; Raymond McEvoy, Drums; Harry Williams, Hom; Ernest Nystrom, Trombone; Frank Mason, Saxophone; Allen Abbott, Clarinet; Ellis White, Comet; George Shepard, Clarinet; John Shepard, Comet; Frank J. Reynolds, Trombone; F. Johnson, Hom; Eugene Callahan, Drums; Raymond Johnson, Comet; Carl B. Johnson, Clarinet; Marshall Stevenson; Clarinet; Russell Field, Comet; George A. Malloy. Clarinet; Gustaf R. Nelson, Clarinet; and John Blake, Clarinet. During this period, the following three pupils of the high school became members of the Oliver Ames High School Band, and remained with the A.C. Ames Band until its dissolution: Aldo Johnson, Piccolo; Reynald Johnson, Clarinet; and Edward Nystrom, Baritone. Honorable mention must be made of: George Shepard, clarinet. The American Legion Post of the town of Easton was named after him. The following five members of the Oliver Ames High School Band became nationally prominent in bands and symphony orchestras, especially in the middle west: Fred Clarke, Clarinet, became a member of Sousa’s Band and Phinney’s Chicago Band. He later became a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and established a prominent studio in Chicago. Bert Pierce, although a saxophone player, took up the French Hom, and eventually became a member of both the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and prominent bands throughout the middle west. Kenneth Watts, Clarinet, when leaving the town of Easton, joined the United States Band in Washington, and became a prominent band director and teacher to prospective band directors. William Oliver, Comet, located eventually in New York and became one of the leading cometists among the New York bands during that period. William Keyes, Comet, shortly after graduating, he moved with his family to Boston and continued his studies with Mr. Brenton. After several years, he became located in Evansville, Wisconsin, and a teacher and director of bands followed being a supervisor of music in Evansville. It is with great patriotic pride that the A.C. Ames Band had nine of its members inducted into bands were: Aldo Johnson, Reynald Johnson, Thomas P. Long Ellis White, Hobart Anderson, Ernest Nystrom, and Edwin Nystrom. Wilbur Howes, clarinetist, and James D. Canan, drums, both went to Fort Devens and joined an overseas band. James D. Canan later became the sergeant drummer of General Pershing’s band. Much can be written about the Oliver Ames High School Band, which later changed its name to the A.C. Ames Band several years before the death of Mrs. Anna C. Ames, but every boy in the town of Easton who was a member cherished dearly the great friendships that were made, the musical education that was given, and the everlasting pride and sincerity that was manifested by Mrs. Ames when she called them all "her boys." At her funeral on March 14, 1917, all the members of the band, with the director and the three other instructors, acted as the escort at the church services, which were held at the Unitarian Church in North Easton, and at the grave when she was placed at rest forever. Under date of May 17, 1917, the late William H. Ames, as chief executor of the Anna C. Ames Estate, sent a letter to Thomas J. Canan and others in which he stated that on behalf of his sisters, his brother, and himself, that they would very gladly tum over, to an authorized committee of the band, the instruments that the remaining members possessed, and the music library that was used by the band. Mr. Ames’ request was adhered to, and a committee comprised of Thomas J. Canan, Chairman, Arthur F. Anderson, W. Albert Coggan, and Fred D. King, accepted the property on behalf of all the members. From that time on, until June of 1919, what remained of the band in membership floundered around considerably, holding only occasional rehearsals when enough of the remaining members could get together for such, and said rehearsals would be under the direction of some one of the members, but in most instances, Arthur F, Anderson, cometist. Oftentimes, the members would journey to Brockton and attend the rehearsals of some one of the three organized bands that existed in Brockton at that time. However, in May of 1919, the members held a meeting and voted to have a committee comprised of Messrs. Canan, Anderson, Coggan, and King approach Mr. Oakes Ames of – Borderland, – the son of the late Mrs. Anna C. Ames, endeavoring to interest him in the future of the A.C. Ames Band. The results of the meeting with Mr. Oakes Ames were most beneficial and satisfactory to both Mr. Ames and the committee, to the extent that if there were enough surviving members that were sufficiently interested in the work to use their best efforts for the further development and future of the A.C. Ames Band that he, Mr. Ames, would support the band both morally and financially. Now the task of finding a director and teacher who would be acceptable to all concerned was at hand. It did not take long before the services of Walter M. Smith, director and cornet soloist, were secured, and a contract, dated July 5, 1919, was signed by Mr. Smith and the committee on behalf of Mr. Oakes Ames. At this time, Mr. Ames indicated it was understood that the band’s – colleagues will contribute, from time to time, part of your earnings from your engagements to the upkeep of uniforms and equipment. It seems to me that this is the only dignified and fair basis upon which to work. – The band membership was so enthused at playing under the directorship of Mr. Smith that several of the members who previously played with the band would return to the band rehearsals, as well as play whenever they could with the band in parades and concert engagements. There was also a great desire of several prominent musicians in the Brockton area to fill in and play with our band whenever an occasion would permit itself. Under the regime of Mr. Smith, the band played at several of the many major functions in the area at different times, a few being the Brockton Fair, the annual summer series of concerts at Franklin, Foxboro, Walk-Over Park in Brockton, and Mansfield. The Monday night concerts on the bandstand in front of the post office in North Easton were always well attended by people from outside towns, as well as Easton. While the band was under the leadership of Mr. Smith, his marvelous solos showing the great musicianship and technique that he possessed were always appreciated and well-received by the many audiences. Not only the members of the A.C. Ames Band at the time that Mr. Smith directed it, but also the people of the town itself realized what a great director as well as soloist he was. His greatness was acknowledged by Edwin Franco Goldman, our country’s greatest bandleader at that time, during a mammoth concert held at the Brockton Fairgrounds in 1923, at which Mr. Smith was the soloist and Mr. Goldman was the director. We quote from the records: – At the time of Mr. Smith’s solo, the audience became hushed. Most of the people had heard Walter play before, and knew what to expect from their idol. For one person, however, this was a new experience. That one person, of course, was Mr. Goldman. Walter so thrilled the audience and Mr. Goldman with his superb tone and technique, which he maintained throughout the solo, that Mr. Goldman would not permit him to leave the stage without a word to the audience. Mr. Goldman finally quieted the respective audience by telling them that he was the director of the Goldman Band of New York, and that he had been very fortunate. Always, he had considered New York as being the nucleus of the greatest musicians. However, a local citizen, whom he met in New York, told him that he had the greatest cometist in the world. Mr. Goldman did not believe this man then, but as he said, he did now. – Some of the other boys in the high school who joined the A.C. Ames Band when Mr. Oakes Ames was the benefactor, and when the band was under the leadership of the late Walter M. Smith, were: John A. Lyons, Hom; Henry Eliason, Hom; Donald Bellows, Comet; Lawrence Gurney, Comet; John L. Clarke, Comet; and Roy A. Gustafson, Cornet. Mr. Robert D. King started lessons with Mr. Smith in 1926, and moved to Wakefield in 1929. He studied music in the Boston University School of Music and Harvard University, returning to his native town of Easton in 1949 to become its supervisor of music. In 1932, much to the regret of the surviving members of both the Oliver Ames High School and the A.C. Ames Bands, the time finally came for the last concert to be given. This was due to diminishing membership. By now, some members had moved elsewhere to make their living, making it necessary to engage more musicians from outside Easton to play in the band. With this situation occurring, it was unfortunate that there was no other alternative but to discontinue the band. However, many of the members kept interested in music by joining other bands and playing in whatever engagements they could with them when the opportunity became theirs. Mr. Smith returned to full-time directorship of both the famous Aleppo Temple Shrine Band of Boston and the Taleb Grotto Band of Quincy. He also had his studio in Boston and many concert engagements. Mr. Smith died on May 1, 1937, and was buried in his Shriners’ Band uniform. To those who knew Walter Smith, the end did not come with his death. The city of Quincy dedicated a concert shell at Merry-mount Park on July 26, 1937, in his memory. He also wrote several compositions for bands and comet solos, each composition bearing his name. There are many more engagements and parades over the years of 1900 to 1917, and from 1919 to 1932, that may be enumerated, but the listing of the engagements would take up many, many pages in this history of the bands. No doubt we have to close an epoch-of-events such as this sometime, and must arrive at the conclusion of what may be said. Therefore, it is proper at this time to so do, and realizing that music is the common language of the world, we quote: – Music must have some intimate connection with the social destiny of man. If we but knew it, it concerns us. – In closing, one wonders what other band has sent forth as many as four members from its roster to preach the Gospel to all peoples as the Oliver Ames High School, Anna C. Ames Band has. Rev. Fr. Francis D. Callahan, Trombone; Rev. Marshall Stevenson, Clarinet; Rev. Roy A. Gustafson, Comet; and Rev. Paul Harris Drake,Trombone.
Oliver Ames High School Band Anna C. Ames Band 1900-2012
As long as Mrs. Ames was alive, an annual report about the band was incorporated into the School Department’s records in the Town Report. As the above article by Marietta Canan indicates, the band carried on after her death, but had to disband in 1932. It would be 26 years before Oliver Ames High School had a student band again. However, the warm memories and positive impact of the A.C. Ames Band were long-lasting. In September 1992, Robert D. King, a Society benefactor and A.C. Ames Band member, offered the following reflection: For years, the A.C. Ames Band was a source of great enjoyment both to those who played and those who listened. I learned a great deal from, first of all, cleaning up the square every Tuesday morning after the Monday night concerts, then by carrying the bass drum with Roy Gustafson on parades, and finally by learning to play brass instruments from the best teacher in the business, Walter M. Smith. And with my father playing duets with me, how could I lose? It was fun being with all ages and making good music. Eventually, time proved that Robert King’s generation would not be the last to benefit from a school band at Oliver Ames High School. In 1958, the school reactivated the band. In 2012, OA enjoys a music program that has grown into an award-winning enterprise involving several different bands. The bands were under the direction of Robert Wheeler, an Oliver Ames High School and Berklee College of Music graduate, who started his musical career in the fourth grade by playing the trumpet. At the time, the Marching Band consisted of sixty-five players. The Band is a regular in Easton parades, Brockton’s Christmas parade, and the Easton Lions Club’s Holiday Festival. Many of the graduates during the past few years have continued to play in college/university ensembles around the country. One of the highlights of the Band during recent years has been the return of the alumni to play with the current Band at the Thanksgiving football game. Later, almost twenty alums participated.
source: Easton Historical Society, Reminiscences, The Pioneer of Today’s Easton School Bands, Marietta Canan, Volume Seven, 2012
source: Easton Historical Society
Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, 1902
The Ames Family & the North Easton Village below
.Description of Oliver Street below
35 Oliver Street
In 1862, the Governor Oliver Ames House was built at 35 Oliver Street on a thirty-six-acre parcel of land. The Governor Ames Estate is bordered by Mechanic and Oliver Streets on the West, Elm Street on the North, – Langwater, – a little west of the Olmsted Bridge at – Langwater, – on the East, Shovel Shop Pond and – Langwater – on the South. The original building at 35 Oliver Street was built in 1862, was demolished in 1937, and a dwelling was built on the foundation of the original house for David and Elizabeth Motley Ames in 1950. Governor Oliver Ames was the thirty-fifth Governor of Massachusetts from 1887 through 1890. In 1850, Oliver A. Ames was residing at 25 Main Street with his parents, Oakes Angier, a manufacturer, and his mother, Eveline Orville Ames, with his two brothers, Oakes A., a manufacturer, and Frank M. Ames, and his sister, Susan E. Ames, and a worker, Jane McKenna. In 1860, residing were Oliver A., a manufacturer, and his wife, Anna Coffin Ray Ames, with a domestic servant, Ellen Shay. On February 4, 1831, Oliver A. Ames was born to Oakes Angier, and Eveline Orville Ames. On March 6, 1860, Oliver A. Ames married Anna Coffin Ray, in Martha’s Vineyard, daughter of Obed J., and Anna W, Joy Ray of Martha’s Vineyard. Anna’s father, Obed J. Ray was the first and only teacher of navigation on Martha’s Vineyard at the time. In 1865, residing at 35 Oliver Street were Oliver, a manufacturer, and his wife, Anna Coffin Ray Ames, with their son, William Hadwen Ames, and their daughter, Catherine Ames, and a domestic worker, Eden Carney, and his son, Eden Carney. In 1869, the Easton High School at Eight Lincoln Street was built by the Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation. At the time of its construction, Easton High School had twelve rooms with up to fourteen grades in its history. During that time, the building Easton High School, the school training program, a kindergarten, grammar and primary classes. In 1863, Oliver’s grandfather, Oliver Ames passed away, he became a partner in the shovel making business along with other members of the family. In 1870, residing at 35 Oliver Street were Oliver A., a shovel manufacturer, and his wife, Anna Coffin Ray Ames, with their son, William Hadwen Ames, and Oakes Ames, and four daughters, Lena, Anna Lee, Susan E., and Lilian A. Ames. On May 6, 1873, Oliver Ames’ father, Oakes Ames passed away in Easton, with his burial in the Village Cemetery. Following his father’s passing, his activity in the business of the company came to an end with the responsibilities becoming one of the executors of his father’s estate valued around six million dollars. During this time, Oliver Ames created his respected legacy as a businessman handling management of the many enterprises left behind by the passing of his father. By risking his own fortune, he was able to satisfy the immediate demands of collectors. Oliver Ames was a member of the Easton School Committee and was first, Treasurer, followed by Chairman of the Easton Republican Party Town Committee. In 1879, it was an accident rather than a desire by Oliver Ames to enter public life. Oliver and Anna Ames owned a residence in Cottage City, which was part of Edgartown. There was an effort to incorporate as a separate entity from Edgartown. The Legislature refused to pass the bill for incorporation for Cottage City. Later in 1879, Oliver believed Cottage City was unjustly denied and he accepted an election to the State Senate. As a result of his efforts as a Senator, the bill came out in a favorable manner as Cottage City became an independent town. In 1880 and 1881, Oliver was a member of the Senate serving as a member on committees on the railroad and education. In 1880, residing at 35 Oliver Street were Oliver A., a shovel manufacturer, and his wife, Anna Coffin Ray Ames, with their two sons, William Hadwen, worked in the shovel shop, and Oakes Ames, and their four daughters, Evelyn C., Anna Lee, Susan E., and Lilian A. Ames. In 1881, Oliver was elected Lieutenant- Governor with a Democratic Governor thus chairing a Republican controlled Executive Council which was a challenge for him. In 1882 and 1883, Oliver A., and Anna Coffin Ray Ames had a building built at 355 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston as the Oliver’s ever-increasing political activities kept him in the State House during the cold winter months. Oliver and Anna divided their time residing in Easton and Boston. The building at 355 Commonwealth Avenue is located at the northeast corner of Massachusetts Avenue. The building was designed by architect, Carl Fehmer, built by stone masons, Norcross Bothers, and Morton & Chesley, carpenters for the building. Following the passing of Anna Coffin Ray Ames in 1917, Oakes and Blanche Ames purchased the building at 355 Commonwealth Avenue, and still owned and resided at – Borderland – at 259 Massapoag Avenue in Easton. In 1883, 1884 and 1885, Oliver won re- election each year with increasing plurality each year. The Commonwealth was going through difficult financial days as his career drew the attention of the leaders of his party. Out of the thirty-two Lieutenant-Governors, only six had become Governor. In 1886, the incumbent Governor declined to run and Mr. Ames was nominated without opposition and won the general election by 8,000 votes in November. He won re-election as Governor by 17,000 votes in November of 1887. In 1888, Governor Ames started making an annual donation to the Town for planting shade trees along the highways much to the delight of the residents in the Town. In 1889, the Easton Massachusetts City Directory listed Oliver A. Ames as residing at 35 Oliver Street and the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In January of 1890, Olive Ames ended his term as Governor with expressions of approval of his administration and returning to private life with every reason to congratulate himself. In 1889, the Easton Massachusetts City Directory listed William Hadwen Ames as residing at 35 Oliver Street and an employee of the Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation. In the mid-1890s, Governor Oliver and Anna Coffin Ray Ames had the Spring Hill mansion built for William Hadwen and Mary Elizabeth Hodges, which was designed by Architect Carl Fehmer. In 1893, Governor Oliver Ames of 35 Oliver Street in North Easton offered to build a new high school on the site of the former Easton High School. The Town would build the foundation and do the grading on the property. The structure, made of wood, was moved back, and used as an elementary school. In 1930, the older building was demolished and an addition was added to the Oliver Ames high School which was built in 1893. The Oliver Ames High School was a gift to the town by Oliver Ames and dedicated December 12, 1896, with impressive exercises. Like the gift of the Mansion at – Wayside – with the passing of John S. Ames, Governor Oliver Ames passed away fourteen months before the Dedication of the school named for him, Oliver Ames High School. Although Mrs. John S. Ames did not want any kind of recognition at the time of the gift to the Town in 1960, the Historical Commission felt it should have a more appropriate plaque. In December 1991, the plaque was dedicated where Mrs. Ames’ son, David Ames, was supposed to be the speaker. However, he died ten days before the 1991 dedication. On October 22, 1895, Governor Oliver A., Ames passed away in Easton, with his burial in the Village Cemetery in Easton. The Governor’s widow, Anna Coffin Ray Ames was very interested in the Town and focused in on the well-being of the boys and girls in Easton. In addition to gifts listed below, Anna worked hard on behalf of the school children so the Easton School Committee added courses for music, stenography, and typewriting, and she furnished the typewriters. Her donations were given following her extensive investigation of the need. Anna would much rather – lend a hand – than to encourage mediocrity of the working class. She would teach better ways of domestic economy, have ambition to earn higher pay, to use extra money to improve comforts of home life, to improve their moral, physical, mental, and social well-beings. Around 1900, Anna Coffin Ray Ames started the original Oliver Ames High Band. Anna brought members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra to Easton to instruct and assist the group. In the1890s, Governor Ames was the owner of the Booth Theatre in New York City and raised funds for the Boston Athletic Association to send athletes to the 1896 Summer Olympics prior to his passing in 1895. He was one of the investors in one of the largest wooden sailing ships in the nineteenth century and the first oceangoing, five-masted schooner on the Atlantic Ocean coast. His name, Governor Ames, was the name of the ship, as well as a small town in Oliver, Nebraska. During the early 1900s, John E. Dyer would take his ice- cream from Union Street, in his horse-drawn wagon, to A. C. Ames Band Concerts next to the Frederick Law Olmsted Rockery, held on Saturday nights during the spring and summer. In 1900, residing at 35 Oliver Street was widow Anna Coffin Ray Ames, with her two daughters, Evelyn C., and Susan E. Ames, and her son, Oakes, and his wife, Blanche Ames Ames, and her household staff, Fredrick W. Goode, a butler, Martha Sutton, a cook, Anna Manson, a laundry worker, Theresa M. Hayden, a parlor maid, Catherine Doherty, a kitchen maid, Mary Dineen, a chambermaid, Annie Doherty, a chambermaid, and Patrick J. O’Connor, the family farmer. In 1900, Oakes Ames grew up at 35 Oliver Street, married Blanche Ames, sister of his classmate Butler Ames of Lowell, two years after graduating from Harvard. On October 22, 1895, Oakes’ father, Oliver Ames, of 35 Oliver Street, passed away. In 1900, Oakes and Blanche Ames began their marriage by living at his childhood home at 35 Oliver Street in North Easton with his widowed mother, Anna Coffin Ames, and his two sisters, Evelyn C., and Susan E. Ames. On December 3, 1902, Anna Coffin Ray Ames hosted the opening of the Ames Gymnasium at 15 Barrows Street with a starting time of 7:30 – Prompt. – The building was for physical education classes, athletic events, and band practice for students at Oliver Ames High School across Barrows Street. Mrs. Ames provided teachers and equipment for educational enhancements for the students. In 1910, residing at 355 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston was widow Anna Coffin Ray Ames, with her daughter, Lillian Ames, and her husband, Harry Chatman, with their daughters, Anna R., and Lilian A. Chatman, and their son, Harry Lorenzo Chatman, a book and bindery salesman, and Anna’s household staff, Martha Sutton, a cook, Anna Monson, a laundry worker, Mary Dineen, a chambermaid, and Frederick Good, the butler. In 1916, Anna Coffin Ray Ames organized a medical aid effort on behalf of the American Red Cross at the Ames Gymnasium at 15 Barrows Street. On March 11, 1917, Anna Coffin Ray Ames passed away at her home at 355 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, with burial in the Village Cemetery in Easton. On June 12, 2012, the Trustees of Reservations in its announcement on the purchase of 36-Acre Governor Ames Estate, David Ames Jr. expressed the feelings of the Ames family, – Our family connection with the Trustees goes back to their beginnings, as the Trustees were founded in the Boston offices of Frederick Lothrop Ames, the builder of the Langwater Estate and the cousin of Governor Ames. We are very proud of the work the Trustees have done over their long history and we could not be more pleased that they will be the stewards of this property in the years to come. We have no doubt that they will make a great contribution to preserving the special character of North Easton Village. –
source: Easton Historical Society
source; Massachusetts Historical Commission
source: History of Easton, William L. Chaffin, 1886
source: The New England States: Their Constitutional, Judicial, Volume 1, William Thomas, 1897
source: American Biography, William Richard Cutter, The American History Society, 1918
source: Easton’s Neighborhoods, Edmund C. Hands, 1995
Oliver Street runs south from Elm Street in North Easton to about the northwest corner of Shovel Shop Pond. The street turns sharply west to intersect ultimately with Main Street. According to local historian William Ladd Chaffin, the east section of Oliver Street, running from Elm Street south, was accepted as an official street in 1857. It was extended to Main Street in 1863, with the east-west section of the street is shown on the 1855 map of North Easton Village. This section was called Depot Street on the map of North Easton Village in 1871. In 1871, the Oliver Ames and Sons carriage house, the main industrial complex of shovel manufacturer, Oliver Ames and Sons, and the railroad depot, were built in 1855. The section was built by the Ames’ to connect its factory to the Boston and Providence Railroad at Stoughton. The street goes along the south side of the street between Main Street and the street’s sharp turn northward. On the north side were the first home of hinge manufacturer Edwin W. Gilmore, a shovel shop building, a railroad building, and five tenements owned and operated by Oliver Ames and Sons. One of them, 24 Main Street, was a house built about 1830 that the company acquired and rented from at least the mid-1860s to 1911.The remaining four were 10, 14-16, 26-28, and 30-32 Oliver Street and were reputedly former factory and residential buildings moved to the street after 1852.
Ames Shovel and Tool Company, Ames Family & the North Easton Village, info, Easton Historical Society
The Ames Family & the North Easton Village
One of the well-known Ames properties, Sheep Pasture estate, was owned by Oliver Ames (1864-1929), son of Frederick, (1835-1893), and Rebecca Caroline Blair Ames, (1838-1903), and Oliver’s wife, Elise Alger West Ames, (1867-1945) Oliver was born on October 21, 1864. Oliver was a great-grandson of Oliver Ames, (1779-1863), whose father, Captain John Ames, started making shovels just before 1774, older than the United States, in West Bridgewater. In 1803, Oliver came to Easton, purchasing a forge, a nail-making shop, a house and the Shovel Shop Dam with surrounding land on Pond Street. Oliver’s siblings were Helen Anglier Ames Hooper, (1862-1907) who married her husband, Robert, and residing in Manchester, MA, Mary Shreve Ames Frothingham, (1867- 1955), later at Wayside, Frederick Lothrop Ames, (1876-1921), later at Stone House Hill House and John Stanley Ames, (1878-1959) later at Langwater. Henry Shreve Ames died in infancy. Shortly after his graduation from Harvard University in 1886, Oliver joined the Oliver Ames & Sons Shovel Works, becoming a director of various business, railroad and trust companies. Oliver and Elise were married in Boston on December 3, 1890. Their children were Elise Ames Parker, (1892-1979), Olivia Ames Cabot, (1893-1978), Richard Colwell Ames, (1897-1935) and Oliver Ames, Jr., (1895-1918). Their older son, Oliver Ames, Jr., was killed in service to his Country in France during World War I. Oliver’s father, Frederick Lothrop Ames became a member of the firm of Oliver Ames & Sons Shovel Works in 1863, and when it was incorporated in 1876 as Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation, became the Treasurer. After the passing of his father, Frederick Lothrop Ames, (1835-1893), Oliver became one of the trustees of his father’s estate and following in the footsteps of his father, becoming Director and Treasurer of the Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation. From 1860 through 1930, the Ames Shovel and Tool Company at 28 Main Street owned buildings on the north side of Lincoln Street between Day Street and Reardon Way. These buildings provided housing for workers at the shovel shops, shoe shop workers, worker and domestic helpers for the Ames family and other factories in North Easton. The earliest tenement houses for employees were built close to the factories near ponds using the water resources. Example of housing were The Island and along Pond and Mechanic Streets, and south on Andrews Street and north to Oliver Street. The mixture was a combination of single- and multiple-family dwellings and boarding houses for unmarried workers. The elevated status in the social and economic factory hierarchy was shown by single dwellings which were inhabited by supervisory and skilled workers. Smaller housing units with two or more households were used by families of unskilled laborers. The houses had very basic accommodations, most houses were shared with strangers. The initial industrial development focused on improved ponds that provided motive power to the factory buildings. Eliphalet Leonard had a nail manufactory at The Island on the east side of Shovel Shop Pond and Asa Waters had a hoe factory on the south end of Hoe Shop Pond. In 1803, Oliver Ames came to Easton as this area around the Langwater Pond became the initial location for the shovel works. Later, Oliver Ames purchased the water privilege at the south end of Langwater Pond and expanded the water resource. By 1815, Oliver Ames and Asa Waters built a cotton mill on the current housing site of the Ames Shovel Works at 50 Main Street powered by canal dug from Hoe Shop Pond. In 1852, a devastating fire on The Island burnt down the wooden constructed shops which were replaced by the construction of the stone shops on the western side of the Shovel Shop Pond. The properties #55, #59, #63, #71 and #73 Lincoln Street were built for laborers similar in construction and style. Records show another four properties #45, #49. #85 and #89 Lincoln Street were moved from the shovel shop area. The parcels #41, #79 and 81 Lincoln Street were built on or moved onto properties on Lincoln Street. In 1815, the Easton Manufacturing Company, a cotton cloth factory, owned six-acre of land on the north side of Lincoln Street. In 1839, the Easton Manufacturing Company was dissolved which paved the way for David Macomber to purchase the six-acre parcel which he sold to Howard Lothrop. Later, Howard Lothrop sold the land to same parcel Oakes Ames (1804-1873), the son of company founder of the Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation, Oliver Ames Sr., (1779-1863). In 1845, Oakes Ames, (1804-1873), transferred ownership of the parcel to his father, Oliver Ames Sr., (1779-1863) followed by Oliver Ames Sr., and deeded the parcel to Oliver Ames and Sons. In 1875, the six-acre property and other parcels of land were deeded to Frederick Lothrop Ames (1876-1921) and moving ownership back to Oliver Ames and Sons. In 1850, this area of Lincoln Street was woodland owned by the Ames family. In 1901, Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation transferred all of its real estate to the newly named Ames Shovel and Tool Company. The Ames family owned large parcels of land north, east and west of the factories. The Ames family built their residences in the middle of the work area on the west side of Main Street with two of those houses, Unity Close at 23 Main Street and Queset House at 51 Main Street near the shops. This was typical of factory village development in the period. During these times, owners and laborers interacted with each other in work and daily life where private locations were limited. The social status was shown in the size and styles of architecture, but they would be near or part of the work settings. The fancy iron fencing on the western side of Main Street was the only separation between the owner and employees. Later, the Ames family started create estates outside, but close to the North Easton Village. The estates featured large buildings called mansions, gardens, farm, other small buildings, passive conservation spaces, and recreational areas within their estates. In 1820, the Oakes Ames, Sr. owner of the O. Ames, began building worker testament housing for their workers. In 1820, the first two houses Oakes Ames, Sr. built were for the manager of his shop in Braintree. In 1832, Oakes Ames, Sr. built his second testament house for the workers in his shops in West Bridgewater. The house of Oliver Ames Jr., (1807-1877), was northeast of this area, facing Main Street. In 1886, historian William L. Chaffin, in his book, History of Easton, wrote that forty-five Roman Catholics, most from Ireland, lived in Easton in 1849, 150 by 1852, and 400 by 1860. In 1850, at least thirty-five of ninety-seven Irish-born males were working in Easton, or 36 percent, worked at the shovel shops. Seven were furnace workers at the Ames shops or iron forges. In 2002, historian Gregory J. Galer wrote in his book, Forging Ahead: The Ames Family of Easton, Massachusetts that by late 1820s, the shovel shop company, O. Ames found out that this area could not meet the need for labor at the shovel shops. By the 1840s, the workers who immigrated from Ireland helped to meet the need of labor. In 1836, Oakes Ames built a boardinghouse big enough for twenty workers. In 1845, Oliver Ames and Sons built twenty houses for their workers. By 1861, building and owning thirty houses and ninety houses for workers by 1884. From the historical area of Canton, Massachusetts called South Canton. In 1847, the Ames Shovel Shop began operating at 160 Bolivar Street in Canton, Massachusetts at a location between Bolivar and Forge Pond. In 1792, a corn mill was built followed by a cotton factory in 1812. In 1841, the Bolivar Mill burned to the ground. In 1845, the property was purchased by Lyman Kinsley for purposes of operating a iron forge followed by Oliver Ames and Sons taking over operations in 1848. In 1847, the land was used by Lucius Buck as a hammer shop to help in the expansion of the shovel shops in North Easton. In 1844, the expansion happens when Oakes and Oliver Ames, Jr., took over as operatives from their father Oliver Ames. In 1845, the Stoughton Branch Railroad allowed the Ames Shovel Shop to shipped stamped shovels for finishing from Canton to Easton. In 1852, a fire destroyed the Ames factory in North Easton and the shop in Canton was in heavy use until the factories were rebuilt with stone in 1853. In 1901, Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation transferred all of its real estate to Ames Shovel and Tool Company, a merger of the Ames company and several other shovel and handle companies. In June of 1930, as part of selling its tenement properties, Ames Shovel and Tool Company submitted and registered two sets of plans detailing lot boundaries for sixty-two properties including the twelve on Lincoln, Pond, Mechanic, Day, Barrows, Main, Canton, Elm, and Oliver Streets and Picker Lane off Canton Street. Ames Shovel and Tool Company contracted Samuel T. Freeman and Company, an auction handler, from Boston and Philadelphia, to auction forty-one of its properties in Easton. The auction list consisted of eighteen cottages, sixteen with two-family houses, three with four-family dwellings, two stores, and two building lots. In 1933, Ames Shovel and Tool transferred properties to John F. Neal, a lawyer from Malden for individual disposal of the properties to future owners.
source: Massachusetts Historical Commission
source: History of Easton, William L. Chaffin, 1886
source: Forging Ahead: The Ames Family of Easton, Massachusetts, Gregory J. Galer, 2002
Tagged: , Ames Family , Easton , Massachusetts , Bristol County , Farm , House , Center , out , door , Bay , Property , Town , District , Washington , Shovel , Rail , Ames , Furnace , Village , Main , Maps , Places , Sites , Houses , Registry , Image , Pond , North , Governor , War , Botanical , National , Historic , Commission , Interior , People , Bristol , Historical , Vintage , History , Flowers , Museum , Spring , Asahel , Road , Simpson , Revolutionary