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History of Worcester and its people (Volume 2) online

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by the present manager, Geo. F. Story.

The name was changed to Worcester County Farm Bureau, Jan. 9,

1915. At this meeting 450 farms were represented. At the end of the
year 1915 the Bureau had a membership of 800, and since then its growth
has continued. It has had the aid of federal and state experts in this
line of work, and is endorsed and supported enthusiastically by the
Grange, Farmers' Clubs, Women's clubs, agricultural societies, and
towns, cities and county. Practical work was done in encouraging and
improving the dairies of the county, in stimulating the planting of alfalfa,
care of apple orchards. Boys' and girls' clubs were organized. In 1915
five agents were employed in the field for instruction. The county aided
the Bureau with an appropriation of $5,000.

But the great work came when the world food shortage ajjpeared.
In the spring of 191T the Bureau was the agency through which the
government and other agencies worked to raise the agricultural produc-
tion of the county to its maximum. It found land for thousands who
were willing to cultivate gardens; instructed the amateur gardeners;
procured seeds ; supervised farms and gardens. Space will not permit a
detailed report of the work. It was well managed, and will continue
until food is again plentiful in this country.

It was found necessary to add a Woman's Department in 1916. Mrs.
Florence A. Warner was made director of the Home Economics Depart-
ment, and her department has been of special importance during the
period of economy and food-substitution necessitated by war conditions.

The Bureau publishes the Worcester County Farmer monthly, each
member receiving a copy. This journal has been very important in
furthering the work and securing the cooperation of members. E. A.
Richardson is business manager.

The officers in 1918 were: J. Lewis Ellsworth, pres.; Lucius L.
Richardson, vice-pres. ; Frank Kilmer uf Worcester, sec; Curtis R.

.■iXD ITS PIlOPLll 1055

Blancliard of AVorcester, treas. ; Geo. F. Butterick, Raj-mond Gregory,
Geo. Smith of Barre, E. H. Stoddard of East Brookfield, C. L. Wilder of
Lancaster, executive committee; Chas. L. Allen and J. Lewis Ellsworth,
finance committee ; Adelaide A. Knowles, office manager.

At present the Bureau is conducted under an agreement between the
United States Department of Agriculture and the Massachusetts Agri-
cultural College, the interests of which are administered by a State
Leader of Farm Bureaus w'ith headquarters at the College. In January,
1918, the Bureau had more than a thousand members.

Industrial and Labor Organizations

In 1819 the first Mechanics' Association was organized, but its Inc
was brief. The present Association had its beginning at a meeting in
the Town Hall, Nov. 2T, 1841, at which Ichabod Washburn presided
and Anthony Chase was secretary. The organization was formally com-
pleted and the constitution signed by 115 members, Feb. o, 18-t2. The
first officers were : \Vm. A. Wheeler, pres. ; Ichabod W'ashburn, vice-
pres. ; Albert Tolman, sec; Elbridge Partridge, treas. ; Jno. P. Kettell,
Sam. Davis, Henry Goulding, Wm. T. Merrifield, Sam. D. Harding,
Henry W. Miller, Albert Curtis, Wm. M. Bickford, Jas. S. Woodworth,
Leonard Poole, Rufus D. Dunbar, Isaac Goddard, Edward B. Rice, Al-
bert Brown and Wm. Leggate, trustees.

Elihu Burritt, "the learned blacksmith," sounded the keynote for the
new organization Feb. 21, 1842, in a lecture entitled "The importance and
necessity of educating the Mechanics and Workingmen of our Country,
as by the constitution all classes of men are equally eligible to high and
responsible offices within the gift of the people, and therefore should be
qualified for the discharge of such duties as might from time to time
be imposed upon them."

The first fair was held Sept. 2(), 1848, in Nashua Hall, Lincoln Square.
Previously, the Agricultural Society had given space to mechanical
exhibits at its fairs. The fair was a great success. In 1849 the second
fair was held in a hall on Union street ; the third in 1851, on Exchange
street. The Association was incorporated March 9, 1850, with power to
hold real estate to the value of $75,000, and personal to the amount of
$25,000. The fourth fair in 1857, the fifth in 1855, and sixth in 1866 were
the last exhibitions of this kind. They were not successful.

The work of the Association developed along educational lines, pro-
viding instruction in drawing and other subjects that is now given in
Trades School, Y. M. C. A. classes, and the evening public schools. The
educational lecture courses have been maintained from the beginning.
An excellent library of text books and standard publications was col-
lected early, and now contains about 15,000 volumes. It was especially
useful to students, inventors and others, before the public library was
established. Since 1864 the reading room has been open.

In building Mechanics Hall, the Association provided a place for
large public gatherings, such as the Musical Festival, political conven-
tions, and at the same time created a center of civic interest and activity.
The presidents have been leaders in public afifairs and heads of great
W.— 1-67.


mamifacturing concerns; viz: \Vm. \V. Wheeler, 184^-44; Ichabod
\\ashburn, 1844-46; Freeman Upham, 1846-48; Sam. Davis, 1848; Ed.
Lamb, 1848-49; Rufus D. Dunbar, 1849-50; Wm. T. Merrifield, 1850-
51; Albert Tolman, 1851-53; Henry S. Washburn, 1852-57; Geo. M.
Rice, 1857-59; Timothy K. Earle, 1859-60; Rich. Ball, 1860-61; Wm. B.
Taber, 1863-64; Jas. A. Whipple, 1864-65; Edwin Morse, 1865-66; Jos.
H. Walker, 1866-67; Philip L. Moen, 1867-69; Alzirus Brown, 1869-70;
Phinehas Ball, 1870-71; Dorrance S. Goddard, 1871-73; Chas. H. Fitch,
1873-74; Geo. S. Barton, 1875-77; Edwin T. Marble, 1877-79; Sam. D.
Nye, 1879-81; Chas. G. Reed, 1881-82; Benj. J. Dodge. 1882-84; Sam.
E. Hildreth. 1884-86; Sam. Winslow, 1886-87; Robt. H. Chamberlain,
1887-90; Ellerv B. Crane, 1890-92; Robt. S. Griffin, 1892-94; Edward F.
Tolman, 1894-96; Chas. H. Burleigh, 1896-98; Jas. Logan, 1898-1900;
Albert A. Barker, 1900-02; Edward M. Woodward, 1902-05; Chas. S.
Chapin, 1905-06; John A. Sherman, 1906-07; Dan. E. Denny, 1908-10;
Chas. H. Norton, 1911-12; Geo. H. Coates, 1913-14; Alfred S. Roe,
1915-16-17; Wm. F. Cole, 1917 — . William A. Smith was clerk and
treasurer from 1871 until the time of his death, Sept. 25, 1913, aged 89
years. His successor, Myron F. Converse, has served since that time.

Mechanics Hall. — The Mechanics' Association led in the movement
to provide an adequate public hall for meetings and conventions. A
committee reported in favor of buying the Waldo lot, Main street, Aug.
16, 1854, and the lot now occupied by the Worcester Theatre, then owned
by the Association, was sold. Deacon Ichabod Washburn started the
building fund with a gift of $10,000, and a like amount was contributed
by others at that time. The lot cost $30,000. The Association issued
bonds for $50,000, all but about $7,000 being bought by members.

The cornerstone of Mechanics Hall was laid Sept. 3, 1855, and it
was dedicated March 19, 1857. H. D. Washburn delivered the address.
The building committee was: Ichabod Washburn. Wm. .A.. Wheeler,
Elbridge Boyden, H. N. Tower, Benj. Walker and Wm. T. Merrifield.
The cost of land and building was $140,000, but additions and alterations
made since have increased the total investment to $270,000 or more. The
load was too heavy for the Association during a financial crisis in 1857,
and the holders of the third mortgage took possession. In 1858 another
fund was raised, Stephen Salisbury giving $7,000. — Ichabod Washburn,
$10,000; the debt was scaled down. F^rom time to time the debt remain-
ing was reduced. Since 1892 the building has been free of debt. The
contractor was H. N. Tower: the architect, Elbridge Boyden. The
organ was bought by subscription in 1864, at a cost of $9,000.

Mechanics Hall is on the third floor. It seats about 2,000. Another
hall, named for Deacon Washburn, is on the second floor. The street
floor is rented for stores.

Mechanics Hall is Worcester's Hall of Fame. On its walls are
paintings of Washington. Lincoln. William Lloyd Garrison. Gov. John


A. Andrew, I'rcsident Garticid, Vice-President Henry Wilson, and the
following men of this city: Ichabod Washburn, W. A. Wheeler, Henry
W. Miller, Elbridge Boyden, Jas. B. Blake, Gen. Geo. H. Ward, Gen. A.

B. R. Sprague ; Sergt. Phmkett, Jno. B. Gongh, Jerome Wheelock, Gen.
Josiah Pickett, Wm. A. Smith and others. (See Wor. Mag. March, 1909).

Builders' Exchange. — The Master Carpenters' Association, organized
in 1884, was the nucleus of the Mechanics' Exchange, founded May 10,
1886, at a meeting in Mechanics Building, at which James E. Fuller was
president, and A. W. Joslyn was clerk, pro tcm. The organization under
the new name began with 9T members, and elected new officers: Pres.,
E. B. Crane; Vice-Pres., H. W. Eddy; Sec, Henry Houghton; Trus-
tees : Wm. F. Dearborn, J. W. Jordan, J. C. French and C. H. Batchelor,
Geo. A. Barnard, Erving Rice and Alex. McGregor. Since then the pres-
idents have been: H. W. Eddy, C. D. Morse, O. S. Kendall, C. A.
Vaughan, Jno. H. Pickford, B. W. Stone, B. C. Fiske, J. I. Elliott, W.
E. Griffin, E. J. Cross, E. D. Ward, A. P. Robbins, J. J. Higgins, G. W.

The present name, Builders' Exchange, was adopted in 1880. The
organization was incorporated July 27, 1891. The first rooms were in
the old police office in the City Hall, 1886 to 1891. From 1891 the offices
were in the Knowles building ; since then at 58 Front street. The mem-
bers named in the charter were: E. B. Crane, C. D. Morse, O. S. Ken-
dall, Geo. F. Blanchard, Thos. Barrett, Thos. O'Gara, Frank. B. White,
Geo. Bouchard, H. W. Eddy, O. W. Norcross, Geo. W. Carr, Geo. Kings-
ton, Wm. Knowles, Jesse Smith, F. H. Goddard. Officers in 1917: Pres.,
Geo. W. Kilmer; Vice-Pres., Elwood Adams; Treas., Alanson P. Rob-
bins; Sec, .^.rthur H. Skillings ; Directors: Bradford A. Gibson. Jno.
J. Powers, Edward D. Ward, Xavier Faucher, F. Lincoln Powers, Wal-
ter C. Rice, Burton C. Fiske. Edmund D. McClure, Edward J. Cross.

The twenty-fifth anniversary was celebrated in ]!)16, and an illus-
trated pamphlet was published.

In 1894 the Exchange supported the proposed Arcade Building, and
$352,000 was subscribed, but the project was abandoned; in 1895 sub-
mitted a list from which the aldermen selected a building committee for
the City Hall; in 1897 adopted a nine-hour day; watches legislation;
guards the interests of members.

The membership is over a hundred, principally builders, dealers in
lumber, hardware and others interested in building and construction.

Society of Mechanic Arts. — This society, organized in 1884, is inter-
esting, though its life was short. Its purpose was to increase the interest
of young men in mechanical subjects. Papers were read and proceed-
ings printed. The officers in 1887 were : H. W. Wyman (Wyman & Gor-
don later); Vice-Pres., Jno. R. Back; Sec, Chas. F. Schmelz, me-
chanical engineer; Treas., F. H. Ball, engineer; and Lyman F. Gordon
was on the membership committee.


Employers Association of Worcester County. — This organizatipn,
tornu-d in liM.i to suppurt the princii)lc of tlie "Open Shoi)" and to pre-
vent industrial strife, to conduct an employment bureau and foster a
spirit of friendliness, co-operation and progress among employers, has
had headquarters in the offices of the Worcester Labor Bureau. The
first officers were: Pres., Geo. I. .•\lden; V'ice-Prests., E. J. Cross and
.Alfred Thomas; Sec. Donald Tulloch ; Treas., Arthur W. Beaman.
Managers: Clinton S. Marshall, .Albert E. Newton, Earle C. Hopkins,
Frank Roe Batchelder. Jno. J. Higgins, J no. \V. Harrington, Chas. E.
Ilildreth. Jno. P. Coghlin. O. S. Kendall, Sr., Geo. W. Kilmer, Geo. M.
Thompson, jno. W. Harrington was jMcsident in 1917.

National Metal Trades Association. — The Worcester branch has
offices at 44 P'ront street. Its membership includes all the principal
manufacturers of metal goods in the city. Donald Tulloch, the secre-
tary, is in charge of the business of the .Association. It has proven
highly useful in furnishing competent labor when needed, in preventing
strikes and fricti

Online LibraryCharles NuttHistory of Worcester and its people (Volume 2) → online text (page 54 of 63)