Monday, July 25, 2011

William and Eudora Hailmann: Kindergarten Pioneers

Eudora Lucas Hailmann was an early childhood education innovator. She and her husband, William, introduced kindergarten models to American school systems. She was also the first president of the National Education Association. She prepared and published a valuable collection of kindergarten songs and games. She also developed kindergarten equipment that included sand tables and group tables. Eudora was born in 1835 and lived in Louisville, Kentucky. She died March 9, 1905 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, North Reading. Her sculpted headstone flanks a commemorative plaque for her husband, William Nicholas Hailmann.

William married Eudora on December 24, 1875. After attending Medical College in Louisville, Kentucky and receiving a PH.D from Ohio University in 1885, William taught high school natural science. From 1865 to 1873 he directed the German and English Academy where it is noted that he and Eudora built the first kindergarten classroom in the United States.

William also served as superintendent of the Indian School Service in 1894, and worked to hire more Native American teachers to teach Indian children. Working with Theodore Roosevelt, he developed an exam which ensured applicants for teaching jobs on reservations were aware of the unique hardships of American Indians. This process helped create more employment of Native American teachers. Eudora worked alongside her husband in all his efforts. William was born in Glarus, Switzerland in 1836 and died in Pasadena, CA, May 13, 1920. After Eudora’s death, he married Helena Kuhn of Detroit.

For a photo of the gravesite in Riverside Cemetery, North Reading, visit the following link at Find a Grave:

Other References:
“Eudora Lucas Hailmann” . Kindergarten Primary Magazine. Vol. 17. 1904. p. 559.

“William Nicholas Hailmann”. 26 June 2011. Wikipedia. July 25, 2011. Hailmann

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Early Land Grants and Town Bounds from 1639 to 1802 (Reading)

Click the "Internet Archive: Early Land Grants and Town Bounds" link below to find land records of the town of Reading 1639-1802: “A True Transcript from the Town’s Old Books made in 1853 by W. J. Wightman, Town Clerk”:

Internet Archive: Early Land Grants and Town Bounds

“The 18th of the 12th Month 1638: The town records of the lands and meadows that lyeth in the bounds of the town of Reading either as they were given by the town of Lynn or as they were given by the town of Reading or as they have been purchased of others.”

Early men receiving divisions of land include: Nicholus Brown, Bonifas Buxton, Leiut Thomas Marshall, Jeremiah Swain, George Taylor, Capt Richard Walker, John Pool, Zachariah Fitch, Hannaniah Parker, John Bacheller, Edward Taylor, Hugh Burt, John Person, Josiah Dosten,, Thomas Hutchinson, Thomas Dunton, Thomas Kendall, George Davis, William Blott, Thomas Clark, Nathaniel Cutler, William Houper, Samuel Bennett and William Cowdrey.

Also laid out were town and county highways, footpaths & a grist mill. It includes information about (Reading’s) Bear Meadow, Pine Swamp Lands and land down to the (Saugus) iron works.

Remember: 1629- Lynn founded, 1644-seperated land established Reading, 1651-added land north of the Ipswich River to Reading, 1713-separation of North Parish (North Reading), 1853-the incorporation of the Town of North Reading

Thank you to Reading Public Library, the book contributor and digitizing sponsor and to Internet Archive. Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jared B. McLane & His Wagon Factory

Around 1887 Jared B. McLane started the McLane Wagon Factory in North Reading. McLane Wagon Factory became a dominant manufacturing establishment of the town. McLane wagons were purchased and used across the United States.

The average number of workmen at the McLane factory was about fifty. He employed cabinet makers, blacksmiths, sign painters and carpenters. The output of the factory included a full line of commercial wagons, sleds and parts for replacement and repairs.

Jared Brown McLane was born in Pugwash, Nova Scotia on May 8, 1853 to Alexander and Harriett (Brown) McLane. When he was young he apprenticed with a carriage maker and blacksmith to learn the wagon-maker’s trade. At nineteen he left Nova Scoria and moved to Topsfield, Massachusetts where he worked for D. E. Hurd, wagon and carriage builders. In time he became a partner of Mr. Hurd, which lasted several years. They were contemporizes of my great grandfather, C. Fred Jordan, a prominent Topsfield blacksmith.

About 1873 he sold his interest and came to North Reading and started a blacksmith shop in the rear of the present Flint Memorial Library. Eventually he purchased an adjacent building and began building wagons. One of his first wagons was purchased by the town as a patrol wagon and was used by Constable Henry Dane.

Mr. McLane’s well constructed, lettered and varnished wagons were used by police departments in many surrounding cities and towns. In 1902 he produced an illustrated catalog showing several types of wagons: “Market, Store, Express, Milk, Meat, Ice and laundry” as well as “Carts, Caravans, and Pungs built by our design or your specifications”.

Mr. McLane was very active in town affairs. When the North Reading Board of Fire Engineers (the early fire department) was organized in 1895, Mr. McLane was a charter member and was appointed as engineer, responsible for the care and maintenance of all the firefighting equipment. He was also a member of the committee for the erection of the new LD. Batchelder School building. He held the chairmanship of the town finance committee, and was a member of the Good Fellowship Club.

Mr. McLane became a director of the First National Bank of Reading. In 1914 he was elected to the General Court of Massachusetts, representing the towns of North Reading, Reading, Woburn, Wilmington, and Burlington.

Mr. McLane married Alice M. Long of Topsfield on September 16, 1875. She was the daughter of Henry and Catherine (Perley) Long. Henry was of North Andover, Massachusetts and Catherine was of Boxford, Massachusetts. Mr. McLane died in Pinehurst, North Carolina, March 27, 1917 and funeral services were held at the Union Congregational Church in North Reading. Following his death the J.B McLane Wagon Factory became the North Reading Wagon Factory. The factory was destroyed by fire in February 1928.

The Jared B. McLane house still stands at 148 Park Street, North Reading. It was built in the federal style in 1818 by Ebenezer Damon on land purchased by Dr. Jacob Goodwin. Three years later it became the home of Reverend Cyrus Pierce the third pastor of the Congregational Church. In 1828 the property was purchased by Dr. David A. Grosvenor and in 1876 conveyed to Jared B. McLane.

North Reading Historical Commission, North Reading Cultural Resources Survey Part I. 1978

Murphy, Leo. North Reading Review: Annals and Reminiscences, North Reading’s Industrial Past. No. 5. December 1962

Noble Advisory Board, American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, Volume 5. New York. American Historical Company. 1919

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rufus Porter Murals, Damon Tavern

Rufus Porter (1792-1884) was an American painter, inventor and founder of Scientific American magazine. The extensive murals in the upstairs ballroom of the Damon Tavern have been attributed to him by Jean Lipman. Ms. Lipman’s 1968 book: Rufus Porter Yankee Pioneer, reprinted in 1980 as Rufus Porter Rediscovered, was part of a special exhibition of the Hudson River Museum on nineteenth-century art. The murals from the Damon Tavern appear on page 137 in Rufus Porter Rediscovered. Lipman states that Porter decorated the Tavern’s ballroom circa 1835-1840.

Circa 1958 the Town of North Reading purchased the Damon Tavern building from the Whitcomb Family for use as a public library using funds bequeathed by William W. Weeks. The murals were discovered a short time afterward behind room partitions and layers of wallpaper. By the 1980’s the building had fallen into condemnable disrepair. According to a 1983 article in MassBay Antiques, the murals were authenticated by Nina Fletcher Little of Boston. The Damon Tavern is listed on the Massachusetts Register of Historic Places. In October 1996 North Reading Town Meeting approved $627,000 for renovation of the Damon Tavern building. There was a $90,000 matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund.1

In 1819 Rufus Porter traveled extensively by coach and on foot, painting portraits throughout New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Around 1824, Porter’s interest shifted from portraits to landscapes and then to painting murals. He traveled throughout New England creating mural landscapes for houses and taverns. His wall paintings were less costly for home owners than expensive imported wallpaper of the time. He became a prolific muralist between 1825 and 1845, decorating some 160 houses and inns in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and as far south as Virginia.

Porter generally created murals in a large scale on dry plaster walls by a combination of freehand painting and stenciling. He incorporated simple silhouettes into scenes of entire towns or harbors. Some murals were in full color while others were painted in monochrome. He sometimes stamped foliage with a cork stopper instead of painting it with a brush. Often Porter would do portraits of the principal household members where he was doing the murals.

Many Rufus Porter murals have been destroyed throughout the years. The few that remain are most often found in private residences and local historical societies. However, you can actually stay in a suite decorated by Rufus Porter at the Hancock Inn in Hancock, NH. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston houses Porter’s mural of Boston Harbor, painted circa 1824. The Rufus Porter Museum and Cultural Heritage Center in Bridgton, Maine possesses original murals and information.

Rufus Porter and I are descendants of John and Mary Porter who came from Dorset, England to Salem Massachusetts in the early seventeenth century. At the time of John Porter’s death in 1676, he was the largest landowner in Salem Village, his lands lying in what is now Salem, Danvers, Wenham, Beverly, Topsfield and Boxford. John Porter was Rufus’ 4th great grandfather and my 9th great grandfather.

The Rufus Porter murals in the ballroom of the Damon Tavern have been inaccessible to the public since the 1980’s. During the renovation, the rest of the Tavern had a water sprinkler system installed. However, this system was not installed in the ballroom over concern that any discharge of water would damage the murals. Solutions continue to be sought to once again make the murals available for public viewing.


1. North Reading Transcript Vol. XLII No.11, July 17, 1997

Lipman, Jean. Rufus Porter, Rediscovered. Clarkson N. Potter Press 1980

Mayer, Kaye, MassBay Antiques Magazine. January 1983. Pg. 10

Flint Memorial Library, North Reading, MA

Rufus Porter Museum and Cultural Heritage Center in Bridgton, Maine

Hancock Inn in Hancock, NH.

Townsend Historical Society, Townsend, MA.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

National Publications Highlight The Church Book North Parish

I am pleased to announce that my article entitled Massachusetts Mystery, The Story of a Lost Church Book has been published in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly December 2010 issue. (Volume XXV, Number 4, Pg 193)

This article gives background about North Parish and details The Church Book 1720-1806 – the original record for the North Parish, hand written by Reverend Daniel Putnam and Reverend Eliab Stone. The Church Book contains vital records for births and marriages for the inhabitants of North Parish during this time period. It also contains writings concerning regular church business as well as the Church Covenant and the list of founding members.

Previously, I painstakingly digitally photographed The Church Book into 133 high resolution images and placed on them on a CD – totaling 620MB - making each page easy to zoom and read details. It includes an index. The CD is available at Massachusetts Historic Genealogical Society on Newbury Street in Boston. The information about the CD has been published in their American Ancestors magazine (Spring 2010, Vol 11, no. 2, pg.58).

The CD of The Church Book is also available at the Congregational Library at the Congregational Christian Historical Society on Beacon Street in Boston, where the original document is carefully preserved on permanent loan.

I plan to provide a CD of The Church Book to the North Reading Flint Memorial Library very soon.