New website features Bartlett, Oxford tenor  
Sunday, May 20, 2012

WEBSTER ¡X Dr. Jack Dwyer of Fairhope, Ala., a lifelong friend of the late Michael Bartlett, dubbed ¡§America's Genteel Tenor,¡¨ has a new website dedicated to the North Oxford native.

The home page begins, ¡§Handsome looks, engaging personality, and a well-trained lyric tenor voice propelled Michael Bartlett onto the international musical stage. During the 1930s and 1940s, Bartlett was one of America's most popular tenors, starring in films, opera, Broadway, radio, concerts and recitals. By the end of the 1940s, he had sung all over North and South America and Europe.¡¨

Dr. Jack was friends with the Bartlett family and dedicated his Web compilation to Michael and his mother, Grace Davidson Bartlett. A legislative bill to install a highway marker near the late Mr. Bartlett's birthplace and home, sponsored by state Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, makes Dr. Dwyer's website especially important and very welcome. It gives new measure to a man who died in 1978. That's a 34-year stretch, making it likely that some of the younger folks in this area, even in North Oxford, are not familiar with the talent that he was.

Anyone with any sense of entertainment will enjoy Dr. Jack's contribution. This is to suggest a general read of his work. To get to his website, go to That's Dr. Dwyer's invitation.

Another road marker will recognize Dr. Elliot P. Joslin, founder of the world-famous Joslin Diabetes Clinic in Boston. The marker will be on Main Street at Maple Road, Dr. Joslin's birthplace and early home. The plan is to dedicate the Bartlett and Joslin signage during Oxford's upcoming tricentennial anniversary.


Matthew Morway of Oxford, a teacher at Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley, accompanied a student group on a tour of Ireland, England and France last month. It was essentially a major cities visit, to Dublin, London and Paris.

Mr. Morway's Oxford ties make St. Roch's Church his home parish, and he never attended a like-named church until April 22, when he accompanied some of the student tourists to St. Roch's Church at Rue Saint Roch in Paris. ¡§It's big, and high, about three blocks from the Eiffel Tower,¡¨ said Mr. Morway. There were a lot of highlights for the Shepherd Hill visitors, but the weather was quite cool. A Paris church bulletin, all in French, and prepared by Pere Phillippe Dengeau, ended up with Ms. Cecile Steglitz of East Thompson, Conn., associated with a St. Anne School of Webster group. She earned the bulletin by reading it.


The face and back covers to the ¡§Town of Oxford 2011 Annual Report¡¨ look pretty much the same, but they are actually different, as in the front and back of the Huguenot Monument.

Credits give the ¡§courtesy¡¨ line to Sarah Loranger, the daughter of Oxford Treasurer Claire Wilson. ¡§Claire and Sarah were kind enough to photograph the monument immediately after one of the few, small snow storms during the Winter of 2011/2012.¡¨

¡§The Monument was dedicated in October 1884 by the descendants of the Bernon and Sigourney families to perpetuate the memory of the thirty French Huguenot families, who established Oxford's first settlement here in 1686-1687. It marks the site of one of the earliest Huguenot settlements in this country and the only French colonial site in the Commonwealth. The remains of the Huguenot Fort are located directly behind the Monument at the top of Fort Hill Road.¡¨

(NOTE: With thanks to Jean M. O'Reilly, chairman of Oxford's Historical Commission, for sharing town report information with this corner.)


When Webster adopted its first charter on March 10, 1987, the town opted for representative town meetings.

Lawyer Ernest A. Belforti, the town moderator of the day, had a grasp on form, giving the 60 elected town meeting members a procedural blueprint, even with ¡§yes¡¨ and ¡§no¡¨ turn-around cards. Things worked out very well.

Then, people who saw public business as a participatory right to all agitated for a return to open town meetings. They managed to turn things around, and organizational calm gave way to ¡§loud¡¨ and ¡§long¡¨ and ¡§confusion.¡¨

Apathy took hold for mostly unknown reasons. Open wasn't as good as representative.
All of this came to mind with the news that Auburn's town clerk, where representative voices still prevail, is posting absentees.

Now, this isn't to poke opinions into the Auburn plight. Rather, it's a note of envy, to hope that Auburn continues to enjoy what Webster lost.
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