Bedford Revisited – 100 years ago in Bedford via the Town of Bedford Annual Town Report of 1918

By Bob Dorer

In looking at the old town reports, it appears that over the years Bedford was very thrifty with its annual report printing contracts. It is interesting to see the many different printing firms from Boston, Worcester, even Cambridge’s Brattle Press, which have had the privilege of printing our town’s informative annual reports. In 1918 A.T. Howard Company of Boston did the honors. The cover of this report contains the “old” town seal that was first used in the annual report of 1900. The annual report of 1899 noted the adoption of a town seal to comply with an act of the Legislature of Massachusetts in 1898 requiring each town to have an official seal for use by the town clerk. The report goes on to note the design of Bedford’s new (now old) seal was developed by Mr. Brown (Abram E., I assume) and signified the original meeting house on “the Common” of the newly cleared forest, with many tree stumps evident, in a central position in the forest between Concord and Billerica, both towns having ceded some of their lands far from their respective centers for the creation of Bedford in 1729. The stumps on this interesting old seal remind me of another “stump town,” Portland, Oregon.

Bedford Revisited: 125 years ago in Bedford,via the 1893 Annual Town Report

By Bob Dorer

In 1893 Bedford town officials were using phrases like “at this late day, the last decade of the nineteenth century” to preface comments on the general state of affairs in their (our) town. It was clearly a time of both reflection and change for town folks. Just looking at the list of town officials and positions gives one a better sense of the times: Overseers of the Poor, Janitor of Town Hall (now our “old Town Hall”) & the Piano Committee (more on this later), Surveyors of Lumber, Wood & Bark, and Weighers of Grain and Coal, and a Superintendent and Matron of the Town Farm, in addition to positions we are more familiar with such as Selectmen and School Committee.

And if we thought our present-day town meetings were interesting, here are a few results from the annual and fall town meetings of 1892 documented in the 1893 annual town report.

Ireland, Part I ~ Beginning in the North

By Andrea Cleghorn

The first time I went to Ireland was in 1976, at the end of a six-month, off-season trip to the Continent. The trip had become hard work: I was tired of my three shirts and three sweaters and trying to find radiators that could dry a pair of jeans overnight. I was traveling by train with a boxy, not-ergonomic backpack that could be carried like a suitcase; the polyester skirt and basic black dress had long ago been jettisoned to lighten my load.

Click this link to view a 22-page album of Andrea Cleghorn’s pictures from Northern Ireland – Images of Ireland – Part 1

In Ireland, I was happy to eavesdrop in restaurants, fully understand directions, and read street signs. Even before the euro standardized international currency, Irish money seemed more straightforward, without an impatient or aggressively helpful salesperson grabbing coins out of my hand while I mentally tallied the bill.

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