by J. A. Buxton
Chapter VI - The 250th Anniversary of Quaboag
|Chapter VI – The 250th Celebration of Quaboag |
The 250th celebration of the founding of Quaboag was carried on by the joint committees of Brookfield, North Brookfield, New Braintree, and West Brookfield.
On June 19, 1909, a meeting was held at the Grand Army Hall in West Brookfield. At this meeting, the celebration was discussed, and, although some wanted it to last a full week, the celebration was planned to take place on August 21, 1910. Among the features planned were a parade, a pageant on Foster Hill, a dinner on the common, and a literary and musical program.
As the sun rose on August 21, 1910, all the bells of the four towns rang out. Eight o’clock found the West Brookfield common covered with people. Flags and pictures of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and the president of the hour, William H.Taft, were draped and placed all over the town on various public and private buildings.
At the north corner of the common were pitched mammoth tents, the largest of which was to be used for the program of the afternoon. The other tents were to hold the people who ate their dinner there.
If someone, not familiar with what was going on, had stopped at West Brookfield that day, he would have been very confused. Some of the people were dressed in modern day garments; others were dressed in clothes of the colonial period. To make the picture completely confusing, the Quaboag Tribe of Red Men were in full paint and feathers.
Soon after eight o’clock, the parade began to form with the help of Chief Marshal Carlton D. Richardson and his aides. The line of march was down Main Street to Cross Street, then to Ware Street, on to Central Street, and so back to Main Street and the common. When the word of command was given, the line looped from the town hall, around the entire common and back to the town hall, a distance of nearly a mile, and then quietly disbanded.
For a description of the parade and the people who participated in it, see from page 22 to 25 in The 250th Anniversary of Quaboag, which can be found in the West Brookfield library.
After the parade had broken up, the throngs of people streamed across the fields and along up the Foster Hill Road where the first settlement of white men had settled in Quaboag territory.
The Quaboag Tribe of Red Men, acting as the attacking Indians, and various people of the four towns concerned, acting as the settlers, enacted a mock siege just like that of August 2 to 5, 1675. Captain Hutchinson was portrayed by Chief Marshall Carlton D. Richardson of West Brookfield, and Captain Wheeler was portrayed by Walter A. Putnam of Warren, while Alfred C. Stoddard of North Brookfield played Major Willard, and Judge Henry C. Cottle acted the part of Captain Parker.
For a detailed account of the mock battle, see page 29 in The 250th Anniversary of Quaboag, Also, the third chapter of this essay will give additional information.
After the mock battle was over, the crowds returned to the common where a dinner was served. According to accurate records, 834 dinners were served, in addition to lunches for the school children. The cost of the dinner was only $1 a plate. For a menu of the dinner, see page 33 of the above mentioned book.
About one-thirty that afternoon, the literary and musical program began. The big tent, which could hold approximately 2,000 people was filled to overflowing. Many great men talked about Quaboag from its humble beginning and its incorporation into the various towns.
If the records are correct, about 12,000 people were present in West Brookfield during some portion of the day. About 7,000 people witnessed the battle on Foster Hill. The day ended with a concert by the Worcester Brass Band on the Merriam Public Library grounds, but most of the crowd had already gone home. For a copy of the literary and musical program, see pages 33 to 35 of The 250th Anniversary of Quaboag.
So ended the glorious celebration of the founding of Quaboag.