A Celebration ~ Lowell Festival ’81 had a “Victorian Ball”

Here is a cross-post from Dick Howe’s blog bringing the Lowell Historical Society on a trip down memory lane…

History, Lowell

Lowell Festival ’81 had a “Victorian Ball”

Here’s a photo to compliment Paul’s “Lowell Festival ’81″ post.  As part of the celebration that weekend in May, 1981 – the Lowell Historical Society held a “Victorian Ball” in the newly restored Memorial Hall at the Pollard Memorial Library. This photo from my archive shows three handsome young men in “appropriate dress” as requested on the invitation. The photo was taken on the grand stairway leading up to the Hall. Pictured are Bob McLeod (LHS Vice-President) and Lew Karabatsos (a former LHS President) along with my son Billy Sweeney. I was the LHS President at the time. I’ll keep searching for other photos… this one I think was in the Lowell Sun…

Photo: Over on Dick Howe's bog we like our trips down "memory lane"... and fellow blogger Paul Marion has posted a poster touting the "Lowell Festival '81" - a weekend event in May 1981 meant to celebrate Lowell's rebirth. As part of the celebration the Lowell Historical Society held a "Victorian Ball" in the newly restored Memorial Hall at the Pollard Memorial Library. This photo from my archive shows three handsome young men in "appropriate dress" as requested on the invitation. The photo was taken on the grand stairway leading up to the Hall. Pictured are Bob McLeod (LHS Vice-President) and Lew Karabatsos (a former LHS President) along with my son Billy Sweeney. I was the LHS President at the time. I'll keep search for other photos... this one I think was in the Lowell Sun... Please post any you might have of that event. Here the link to Paul's post: http://www.richardhowe.com/2014/03/29/lowell-festival-81-2/

St Peter’s Cemetery Part 2: The Little Black Book

This is a cross-post from LowellIrish researched by the Lowell Historical Society’s Genealogist Walter Hickey and Karen Hickey. More of Walter’s sleuthing will be presented on Saturday March 29, 2014 with his program on “Crime and Punishment in 19th Century Lowell”. More details coming.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

St Peter’s Cemetery Part 2: The Little Black Book

This concludes the story of St. Peter’s Cemetery as researched by Walter and Karen Hickey.

There is such a book entitled “St. Peter’s Cemetery”, and we thought this would provide the answer to the locations of the graves. That expectation was relatively short-lived. The book is a record of lot owners.  In addition to the name of the purchaser, it provides the date of purchase, location of the lot, price paid, and sometimes the name or relation of the deceased.  All too often, the name of the decedent is not listed.  Instead, there is simply a notation “Opening grave” and the charge for that.  We are not told for whom the grave was opened.
 In the spreadsheet compiled from this book, there are 365 entries.  Of these only 165 have any notation of who is buried in that grave.  The remaining 200 have no decedent listed.
 Another problem is that the book seems to have been compiled after the fact as the purchases are not in chronological order.  The first burial was that of Edward Connor on 11 Dec 1900.  One would expect that this purchase would be the first listed in the book.  Instead it is listed on page 147 (of 176)
 From his obituary we know that the lot was purchased by his brother-in-law, Charles S. Little, and that this was the first plot sold.
Edward C. Connor at rest in St. Peter’s Cemetery
 The first man to buy a lot in the new St. Peter’s Cemetery was Charles S. Little of 59 Boynton street.  The lot he bought was one of the most desirable in the cemetery, 10 feet square, with room for eight graves, and the price was $25.  The first body interred in the new cemetery was buried in this lot on Tuesday.” 11 Dec.]  (SUNDAY TELEGRAM, 12 December 1900; 5:2)
 If it were not for that obituary providing the name of his brother-in-law, Charles S. Little, we would have no way of knowing where Mr. Connor was buried.  The purchase record indicates the lot was purchased on 10 December and opened for Edward C. Connor, the lot being at Section “D”.  #1.
 The first purchaser listed is Mrs. Bridget Murphy. Who bought the lot on 20 October 1902.  The first, and only, interment was on 5 March 1907.  There is no name of the decedent.  A check of all Lowell deaths, 1-10 March 1907, showed no one by the name of Murphy.  There were interments in St. Peter’s cemetery but there was nothing in the obituary or funeral notices to indicate any relation to Mrs. Murphy.  It is also quite possible that the person did not die in Lowell.
 Also on Page 2, listed below Mrs., Bridget Murphy:
James Devaney purchased Lot 24, Sec “B” on St. Cecelia’s Walk on 25 April 1903.
 Like the Murphy record, the record does not tell us for whom the grave was opened.  In this case, however, by looking at the record deaths in Lowell ca. 25 April 1903, we learn that the deceased was Bridget Devaney, nee Morris, daughter of Lawrence Morris and Margaret Carey, who died 24 April and was buried by undertaker Rogers in St. Peter’s Cemetery.
 The next challenge in the tale of this little cemetery will be to determine if we can match those coordinates with existing graves and locations in the present yards.  We can wait for the snow to melt!
 The information contained in the purchase book has been entered into a spreadsheet.  There are two printings.  The first is in alphabetical order and the send in page order.  These, as well as the burial spreadsheets are in the office of St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

Annual Meeting – 1903 US Cartridge Company Magazine Explosion

Join us on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 from 6:30-8:30pm in the Pollard Library Meeting Room for our annual meeting and a special program by Kim Zunino on the US Cartridge Company Magazine Explosion!

On July 29, 1903, the Town of Tewksbury was rocked by a major explosion. That morning, two cartridge magazines owned by the U.S. Cartridge Company exploded,killing 22 people, injuring 70 more, and destroying the nearby neighborhood of Riverside Park. News of the event spread across the country, and tourists arrived to see the site en masse. The City of Lowell provided aid to the overwhelmed town, including militia to control the crowds. The magazines were located along the Concord River in what is now South Lowell.

So why were there cartridges holding over 20 tons of black gunpowder and almost a ton of dynamite so close to a populated area? Join us for an in-depth look at the series of events leading up to the explosion and its aftermath

Film event! Praying Town: John Eliot and the Praying Indians

“Praying Town: John Eliot and the Praying Indians” is a documentary film by Zadi Zokou, and will be shown on March 14th in South Acton.

This film has interest to Lowellians as Wamesit, which today is largely in Lowell, was one of Eliot’s praying towns.

More information is available in the flyer here.

Reminder: Lowell Historical Society Annual Meeting May 27th!

Lowell Historical Societys

Annual Meeting Featuring a Presentation on

Charles Dickens and the Lowell Mill Girls


Dr. Natalie McKnight, Boston University

Date:May 27, 2012, 1:00-2:30

Location:Boott Mills Events Center, Second Floor, Lowell National Park, Boott Gallery, Boott Cotton Mills Museum, 115 John Street, Lowell, MA

Dr. McKnight
Natalie McKnight, Professor, Associate Dean, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning, Boston University.

Dr. McKnight will be talking about Dickens and the Lowell mill girls, and with a particular focus on how and why Dickens was so impressed with the Lowell factories and particularly the women he met there. Dr. McKnight will emphasize Dickens high regard for the journal the mill girls produced, The Lowell Offering. She will suggest ways in which his visit to Lowell shaped his attitude and approach toward his own role as author for the rest of his career.

Dr. McKnight has published three books on Victorian fiction, Idiots, Madmen and Other Prisoners in Dickens and Suffering Mothers in Mid-Victorian Novels (St. Martins/Palgrave) and Fathers in Victorian Fiction. She is Co-Editor of Dickens Studies Annual and Archivist and Subscription Manager of Dickens Quarterly.

Available both before and after Dr. McKnights presentation is the Exhibit:

Dickens and Massachusetts: A Tale of Power and Transformation

This major exhibit was co-curated by Diana Archibald, Associate Professor of English at UMass Lowell, and David Blackburn, Chief of Cultural Resources and Programs, Lowell National Historical Park. It is being held at the same location as Natalie McKnights presentation in the Boott Gallery (first floor in the Lowell National Historical Park. This interactive exhibition will open on March 30, 2012 and run through October 20, 2012. It features a rich collection of rare Dickens artifacts, on loan from the Charles Dickens Museum of London, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the American Antiquarian Society, the New York Public Library, the Fellman Collection at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Perkins School for the Blind and other institutions. In this exhibit, an iconic 1842 portrait of the young Dickens, painted by Boston artist Francis Alexander, will receive its first public display in over 30 years.

The Dr. McKnights program and the Dickens and Massachusetts exhibition are free to the public.


Lowell Historical Society

Lowell National Historical Park,

University of Massachusetts Lowell


Need a reminder? Sign up at our Facebook Page

March 24th – Mass Memories Road Show comes to Lowell

The Mass Memories Road Show is coming to the Tsongas Industrial History Center (Boott Mills) on Saturday, March 24th, 2012!

This show is an opportunity to provide up to three photos representing you or your family’s history in the city for a digital online archive. They are also looking for oral histories.

For more information, please visit: http://massmemories.net/lowell.php