Showing posts with label The Fitchburg Sentinel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Fitchburg Sentinel. Show all posts

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day and the Spanish American War


For my Memorial Day post this year, I'm looking at one of my relatives who fought in the Spanish-American war.  My great grandmother's younger brother William Frederick Smith served in old Sixth Massachusetts infantry, Company D.  This company's campaign was in Puerto Rico, as you can see from the map I found.
The red line shows the area marched as my great uncle mentions in a letter home. I went back to my old standby, The Fitchburg Sentinel, and sure enough they published a portion of his letter home to my great grandfather George. I feel so lucky to have this resource!
His complaints don't sound too different from many soldiers: poor food, hard marching, mud, bad weather and disease...oh, and equipment that doesn't work properly. Puerto Rico in August must have been a shock to a New England boy. I love the line "It rains about every five minutes."
     In one of the online archives, I found a whole book just on the Sixth Massachusetts. There in the roll for Company D was my great uncle. He served well, returned home safely and lived out his life in Fitchburg and Leominster working for a shipping company. So this Memorial Day I salute Frederick Smith, 1876-1931. Thank you for your service.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Sign of the Times


Here's something you wouldn't see in a local paper these days. Despite all the kerfluffle over private gun ownership, the police departments have de-emphasized marksmanship in favor of "community policing". The idea of a police revolver team posing with guns drawn seems quaint. In the 1930's, however, The Fitchburg Sentinel was full of the exploits of the local police department. I suppose this was as close to tabloid reporting as the public was likely to get at the time. Third from the right in this picture is my great uncle Harry J Tapply. He was my grandmother's older brother. He must have been a good shot to make the revolver team. Stories about his career as a policeman were a regular item in the Sentinel. Sometimes he got to save a life:
Dec 26 1929
Harry Tapply walked a beat, saved a life or two, kept good order for the city of Fitchburg AND was a crack shot for the revolver team.  I think I'd still call that "community policing".