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Stories written by George T. Comeau

Canton’s True Tales: The Sleighing is Capital

Charles Sumner lived at 179 Chapman Street and is shown standing beside his sleigh in 1914. (Collection of the Canton Historical Society)

As the moon rose over Canton on a cold January night in 1887, the distant sounds of laughter echoed across Forge Pond. It was a night for sleighing and late into the night the ritual was in the last throes of enjoyment. There is, of course, the refrain in Jingle Bells that calls the best […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Lineage

Thomas Gibson served aboard the USS Sabine during the Civil War.

At the age of 54, Thomas Gibson slipped quietly away from this world on May 6, 1899. The end came at Boston City Hospital, and after a life of pain and sorrow, the hurting stopped. The details of Gibson’s life are very hazy, and yet today there are still people who care for this man […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Teacups in the Attic

The teapot that was given as a gift to Mrs. John Everett in 1847, now in the collection of the Canton Historical Society

For anyone who has ever watched Antiques Roadshow, they know that provenance is key to the value of antiques. The dusty old box of china in the attic is just fodder for a yard sale until it can be established that George Washington actually nibbled a piece of toast from the dinner plate. And yet […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Honor Village

Emblazoned on the back of the Ford truck rattling through Canton Center is a bumper sticker that reads “Support Our Troops.” And in Canton, we are most fortunate to have a veterans agent who has worked for years to raise the status of our troops such that it is a no-brainer when it comes to […]

True Tales Excerpt: Hiram’s Notes

The following is an excerpt from “Hiram’s Notes,” the latest installment of True Tales from Canton’s Past by local historian George T. Comeau. It is indeed curious to look upon seemingly random jottings and build a portrait of a person whom we have never met. It’s a simple gesture, a note that records the cycle […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Canton’s Waterwheels

A view circa 1880 of the falls that drop through the Revere & Sons Rolling Mill (Courtesy of the Canton Historical Society)

There was a time when the early factory system in New England was inextricably tied to the social welfare of the workers and their families. This was part of the social contract in the early 19th century that led to the building of large-scale factories and industrialization throughout the waterways of the region. When you […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: Military Portraits

Johnny_Jorgenson

They were the daughters, the brothers, the parents, and the soldiers themselves. They came to share their stories. Some neighbors shared heroic tales, and others told of sadness and loss. And in the voices of these people was pride and patriotism. The ideals of our nation lay bare in their hands. They carried brittle yellow […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: The Water Works

Selectmen and water engineers pose at the Town Well in 1888.

It was one of the largest town meetings in anyone’s memory. Hundreds of men packed Memorial Hall in April 1884. The topic at hand was the establishment of a committee that would investigate the sources of water supply available to the town. The discussion had begun as early as 1882, and now the town was […]

True Tales from Canton’s Past: We Are All Citizens

The interior of the Canton Historical Society where the author spends quite a bit of his time

The following is an excerpt from “We Are All Citizens,” the latest installment of True Tales from Canton’s Past by local historian George T. Comeau. There was a message on my voicemail on the second week of August. Sue Gibbs was letting me know that I had been named “Citizen of the Year” and that […]

True Tales: Treason and Revolution

A woodcut of the First Parish Church that served the congregation from 1747-1824 (Collection of the Canton Historical Society)

On an August night in 1776, long shadows cast across the room as Samuel Dunbar sat in his study contemplating what he was about to do. The die had already been cast, yet he would find in his voice the moral, religious, and political authority to do what would certainly be considered high treason against […]

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