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Thanksgiving 1892: A New Town Hall And Barrels Of Goodies

For some light holiday reading, we take a look at Lynnfield news items reported by the former Wakefield Citizen & Banner newspaper back around Thanksgiving, 1892.

Over the past year, this website has run local history columns focusing on what a former Lynnfield weekly newspaper was reporting early in the World War II era during various major holiday seasons. Having now gone through a calendar year, it's time to find some other historical resources. With that, check out the first local history column on this website featuring the Wakefield Citizen & Banner, which covered news from Wakefield and occasionally Lynnfield from at least 1870 up until about the pre-World War I era.

This particular column will focus exclusively on the Lynnfield news items mentioned around Thanksgiving time, 120 years ago. The link at the very bottom goes to a separate article on neighboring Wakefield Patch talking more generally about the newspaper, as well as what was going on in that town.

With that, an initial look through these newspapers suggests that about once a month, the Citizen & Banner devoted column space to Lynnfield news items. That year, Thanksgiving fell on November 24th.

In the November 11, 1892 issue, we see that Hon. John Danforth "received two-thirds of the votes of his townsmen for county commissioner. He has served as selectman very acceptably." Here's a great local historical story about the Danforth family and the Pocahontas Spring, featuring John C. Danforth, who is a Lynnfield resident to this day.

At this point in town history, a longtime historic landmark, Willow Castle, was still standing - but not for long. It would be consumed by a fire within a few years. In November of 1892 however the building, home to one of the earliest and most prominent early families of Lynnfield, the Gowings, had a new coat of shingles "which remind one of an elderly person with a new wig." Willow Castle was recently discussed in a "Then And Now" column on this website.

Lynnfield's town meeting had just wrapped up in early November of 1892. It was "very well attended" with locals who came from as far away as Maine, and took place in the new town hall. Buildings out in back of the new town hall were said to include the "horse sheds, hearse house and tramp hotel." The old town hall was reportedly the new home of the Centre Primary School. "The common looks pretty with the three flags thrown to the breeze," added the newspaper.

Unless I missed something, the next column of "Lynnfield Centre" news did not come up in the Citizen & Banner until its December 9, 1892 issue.

In this issue, the Sunday School of the Centre Congregational Church reportedly sent "two barrels of goodies" to youths at the New England Home For Little Wanderers in Boston.

Out of town hunters had apparently just killed their third fox in town that season, and the newspaper also told of the tragic passing of Thomas E. Cox, Jr., aged 1 year and three months, grandson of Thomas Emerson Cox.

In other Lynnfield news that month, George Roundy had just been elected to the school board after the resignation of Warren Newhall. Also, the Chemical Engine Co. was holding a benefit entertainment event on behalf of a sick member. Finally, J.B. Lewis of Reading was the guest speaker at a Central Sunday School lecture on temperance.

Speaking of temperance, that was a pretty big theme in the local press in 1892. So were ads for dubious "snake oil" type medicinal products. It also happened to be a presidential election year, and Grover Cleveland was heading back to the White House after a four-year hiatus. Learn more about what the local press was talking about 120 Thanksgiving seasons ago in this other article for Wakefield Patch.

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