|Photos of E.P. Morton Camp Should be Saved|
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon Post 61, the Grand Army of the Republic, of Webster, was chartered July 11, 1868, with 11 members.
The post “ceased to exist” after its last member, Cmdr. Christian Holley of 32 Oxford Ave., Dudley, died Feb. 25, 1936.
Though Mr. Holley’s date of death has since been attached to the demise of Lyon Post 61, surrender of its charter, a subsequent vote to disband E.P. Morton Camp No. 85, Sons of Veterans, and distribution of Post and Camp assets added to the time frame.
E.P. Morton Camp existed to facilitate GAR Post programs, formed as death started to claim some of its members and time restricted the activities of others. A four-section photo display, each with 20 prints, probably of past commanders, and a membership roster, with personal and service particulars, were turned over to Webster Selectmen because the town didn’t have a historical society in 1936.
The photographs were placed on an end wall in the Town Hall Hearings Room, remaining there through several decades, until a television transmitting system was installed in the room, known now as the Selectmen’s Meeting Room.
Equipment and a TV booth eliminated the open wall space, so the Civil War images were stored in the Town Hall attic, left to gather dust and deteriorate. They were taken from storage recently to accommodate a relative of one of the GAR veterans.
“He copied this picture,” said James Chauvin of the town maintenance staff, pointing to one of the photographs.
The big frames with 80 portraits are in poor to tough condition, and might best be dismantled and otherwise preserved. Photographic technology has advanced to such an extent in recent times that prints could be processed, possibly through the Webster-Dudley Veterans Council, displayed once more, and shared with others.
The same approach might be used to renew and update the big displays of former town selectmen. Some date back to 1832. They are also in storage in the municipal attic, and are probably in a deteriorating state as well.
Here’s a statistic from “Dudley News!” the computer-generated monthly produced by Dudley Town Accountant Deborah A. Thibaudeau and distributed at Town Hall.
“By the numbers … The (Pearle L. Crawford Memorial) library is a popular place to be! In the entire year the library was open at Village Street 34,000 people visited. In the first seven months at our new location, over 50,000 people have come in. Items checked out have increased by 60 percent.”
There’s another interesting line about Town Clerk Ora Finn’s coins campaign — pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters — to restore and preserve Dudley historical documents.
This ought to be more than a change thing, like dollars, because history can’t be dismissed, and Dudley’s informational trove draws all the way back to 1732, antedating the United States as a nation. Old records sometimes lose their binding, and pages are lost, never to be restored.
A salute to Ms. Finn for her campaign!
The state has eliminated an alleged turning problem in the four corners to Park Avenue, Slater Street and Route 12 (East Main Street) by adding a couple of cross traffic pauses in the controls.
The measure seems effective, but the extra stops and timed delays have slowed traffic considerably at times. The impact backs vehicles up and down East Main, sometimes blocking access from Lincoln Street on one side and Racicot Avenue on the other, to mention the next major ways to Route 12.
Arthur “Archie” Henault, of Dudley, but a true Webster sports historian, offers a wrap to Marcustry Park, discussed through this corner in recent weeks; because baseball historian Richard “Dixie” Tourangeau is researching the diamond career of Joseph Marcustry, said to be one of Webster’s greatest players.
Second-baseman Marcustry may have had an interest in the off-Lake Street park early on, but it was managed and maintained through the 1950s by Stanley Marcustry, Joe’s brother, says Mr. Henault.
Like Francis “Lolly” Walkowiak, Archie places Stan Marcustry’s dwelling beyond right field to the diamond, or what is now the Webster Little League complex. “It was not uncommon for base hits that hit the house or in the left field woods to be considered ‘ground rule’ doubles, the distance down the foul lines being less than 300 feet,” says Mr. Henault.
The infield was the big plus at Marcustry, according to Archie. “It was at least as good as Fenway Park. Bartlett High School used to play all their home baseball games there.” Stanley Marcustry “lived in the nearby dwelling, maintained the field, and ran a small concession shack off the first base line,” remembers Mr. Henault.
Telegram & Gazette
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