With Sturgis Library currently closed, and with all of us practicing social distancing, we thought it might be fun to look back in time – to 1920 – to see what the residents of Barnstable and Cummaquid Villages were up to a century ago. In other words, to live vicariously through the exploits of our VCape Cod ancestors.

The Library provides online access to old issues of the Yarmouth Register and Barnstable Patriot newspapers.  You can search or browse the issues HERE.

Come back regularly to see the latest post about what life was like in our community 100 years ago!  You’ll see the most recently posted articles first. Scroll down to read more.

Posted 4/3/2020 — From The Barnstable Patriot’s headlines on April 5th, 1920

The risk of forest fire was something to be taken very seriously during the spring season on Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts. If a fire was not detected and put out quickly it could spread rapidly and cause much destruction. As announced in the Apr 5, 1920 Barnstable Patriot, fire wards were appointed for the various town villages at a Board of Selectman meeting, including William A. Jones and Edward L. Harris in the village of Barnstable. It was also announced that deputy fire wardens were appointed, including George C. Seabury in Barnstable and H. B. Ryder in Cummaquid.

Earlier, in the Mar 3 Patriot, under the headline “Extra! Deputy Forest Fire Wards,” the wards for the villages were announced as appointed by Forest Warden H. C. Bacon, and the names were listed along with their telephone number. For example, H. B. Ryder at “Barnstable 5-12,” William A. Jones at “Barnstable 72-3,” and George Seabury, “Barnstable 36-2.”

Posted 4/2/2020 — From The Barnstable Patriot’s headlines on April 5th, 1920

A century ago, page two/column two of the Barnstable Patriot provided what can best be described as a listing of news headlines. These items were typically one or two-sentence news flashes of state, national, or global significance. The following news items – containing some element of local impact – appeared in the Apr 5, 1920 issue:
“The Daylight Saving bill in Massachusetts will be enacted this week probably, to take effect the last Sunday in April.”
“A bill providing for censorship of all motion pictures shown in Massachusetts was reported in the House Tuesday by the committee on mercantile affairs.”
“Gov. Coolidge Friday signed the bill that makes lawful the playing of amateurs of baseball and other outdoor sports on Sunday between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m. In towns throughout the state acceptance of the act is required by a majority of voters.”

Posted 4/1/2020 — From The Barnstable Patriot’s “Special Notices” column on March 29th, 1920:

Under the heading of “Special Notices” in the March 29, 1920 Barnstable Patriot is a listing of what our generation would call classified ads. Among the advertisements are a Hyannis farm for sale along West Main Street, a 1916 Ford Touring car for sale sporting the “best mechanical condition,” a four-year-old 18-lb gander offered for $4.00, homemade doughnuts made to order, rooms to let with “electric lights and bath,” housekeepers looking for work, and households looking for housekeepers.

Also included in the listing are two ads from a Cummaquid man. The first reads, “I HAVE a limited supply of fine eating Potatoes which I am selling for $4 per bushel. Chas. C. Ryder, Cummaquid.”

Further on is a second notice from Mr. Ryder: “WE are unloading a carload of choice Timothy and Clover mixed Hay. Those in need better get in orders at once.”

Posted 3/31/2020 — From The Yarmouth Register’s “Barnstable” news column on April 3rd, 1920:

Prior to Easter on April 4, 1920 people were on the move. Some left Barnstable village to visit Boston or elsewhere. Others arrived to spend the holiday here. For instance, according to the “Barnstable” news column in the Saturday, April 3 edition of the Yarmouth Register, Miss Florence Foote, a teacher from Corinth, N.Y. was in the village visiting her uncle, while Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Harris were spending the weekend in Boston.

It also seems that folks were heading to Brockton to visit the Parmenter household: “Misses Doris and Ruth Seabury and Olive Hinckley motored to Brockton Friday afternoon to spend their vacation with their aunt, Mrs. Fred S. Parmenter.”

Further on the village news column mentions that others were visiting the Parmenters: “Miss Lucia and Miss Frances Milliken are spending their Easter vacation in Brockton, guests of Mr. and Mrs. Fred S. Parmenter.”

That must have been some Easter gathering!

Posted 3/30/2020 — From The Yarmouth Register’s “Cummaquid” news column on March 27, 1920:

In Cummaquid, according to the March 27, 1920 Yarmouth Register newspaper. “Mr. Briah Connor is flaking the ice house on his place, which will be removed.”

Harvesting ice from area ponds and lakes was important work during the colder winter months of January and February in order to preserve foods during the warmer spring and summer seasons. Ice houses conveniently stood along the shores of these local ponds. Work crews would assemble after a cold spell to cut the pond ice into manageable blocks and then usher them toward shore to fill the ice house. These buildings were sometimes insulated with hay to reduce melting. The presence of these ice houses of the past is remembered by telltale street names, such as “Ice House Lane” intersecting Route 6A opposite Hinckley Pond (formerly known as Coggins or Great Pond) in Barnstable Village.

Posted 3/29/2020 — From The Yarmouth Register’s “Barnstable” news column on March 27, 1920:

The local newspapers kept readers informed of the various social gatherings that took place in the villages, as well as news of those visiting from elsewhere. The following excerpt from the “Barnstable” news column of the March 27, 1920 Yarmouth Register included a little bit of each as it related to one village family:
“Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Clark entertained over the week-end a number of their relatives, the occasion being Mrs. Clark’s birthday. She was the recipient of several useful gifts and congratulatory cards, and the hours passed all to {sic} swiftly.”
Additionally, the column entry concluded with, “Mrs. M. Nickerman of Sagamore and Mrs. C. Young of Orleans were also guests of Mr. and Mrs. Clark one day last week.”
That particular week, it seems, the Clark homestead in Barnstable was the place be!

Posted 3/28/2020 — From The Barnstable Patriot’s “Cummaquid” news column on March 22, 1920:

A brief mention in the “Cummaquid” news column of the March 22, 1920 Barnstable Patriot announced that, “Mr. George F. Hallet of the Chatham Life Saving station was at home Friday.” In previous years, while he was serving in the Navy during the war the newspaper mentioned when he was home on furlough, and when he was discharged.

Further investigation reveals an article in the October 8, 1936 Hyannis Patriot listing the crew of the Monomoy Point Coast Guard station, which provides details of Mr. Hallet’s years of service in the Navy and Coast Guard: “Navy April 5, 1918, to Feb. 11, 1919; Coastguard, Chatham station, Jan. 1, 1920, to Dec. 31, 1920; Monomoy station, Jan. 1, 1921, to July 6, 1921; Monomoy Point, July 6, 1921, to Dec. 31, 1924; Chatham station, Jan. 1, 1925, to June 4, 1933; Orleans station, June 4. 1933, to Aug. 6, 1934; Monomoy Point, Aug. 6, 1934, to present time.” Mr. Hallet was certainly a busy man.

Posted 3/27/2020 — From The Barnstable Patriot’s “Barnstable” news column on March 15, 1920:

In yesterday’s post we indicated that three folks from Barnstable village attended the 1920 auto show at Boston. Here is more from a March 15, 1920 Barnstable Patriot article which showcased that 18th annual Boston Auto Show:

“There were about thirty exhibitors at the first show (in 1902) with a few accessories. It seems a far cry from these few dauntless rattletraps to the ninety different makes of passenger cars and seventy trucks with thousands of accessories devices that are being displayed in the 1920 Boston Auto Show in Mechanics Building and the Irvington Street Armory, but the development has been consistent and logical. In the minds of the thousands who annually attend the Boston Show each year it means that the last word in motor cars, trucks and accessories are on display.”

Incidentally, an advertisement in the March 15th Barnstable Patriot, from a Hyannis dealership, promoted a Chevrolet Light Delivery Wagon for $830 (F.O.B. Flint, Michigan).

Posted 3/26/2020 — From The Barnstable Patriot’s “Barnstable” news column on March 22, 1920:

A look back in time to 100 years ago – to March 1920 – proves that life hasn’t changed all that much over the span of a century. For instance, back in those days Barnstable residents attended auto shows in Boston, just as they might do today. According to the “Barnstable” news column in the March 22, 1920 Barnstable Patriot, “Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Kent were in Boston last week to attend the automobile show. Mr. Harrison E. Kent also spent some time at the show.”

In fact, the previous week’s newspaper (March 15th) indicated that it wasn’t Boston’s first auto show – it was the 18th annual event: “Symphony Hall saw the first Boston automobile show in 1902. Even then the people were afraid to get too close to the curious contrivance. A runway up to the stage in Symphony Hall was erected upon which makers might prove to the public that the machine could climb a hill.”

More on the auto show tomorrow.

Posted 3/25/2020 — From The Register’s “Cummaquid” news column on March 20, 1920:

“Russell Sturgis and Frank Phinney entertained seventeen of their boy friends at a joint birthday party at Mrs. Howard S. Sturgis’s on Monday, March 1. As Russell was born on February 29, he has been able to celebrate only three birthdays in the twelve years of his life. Both boys received several gifts from friends.”