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From the pages of The Rockland Standard Irish Immigrant, Maguire By MARTHA CAMPBELL Ted Maguire was a familiar figure at the annual Marshfield and Brockton fairs. In fact, it was the latter which almost proved his undoing in 1915. Ted, who was dozing on his wagon on the way home from Brockton Fair, late that night, tangled with the dummy engine of the Hanover Branch which was dead-heading back to the main line in North Abington. We showed a picture of his overturned wagon in the Standard on Wednesday, 12 March 1969. FAMOUS TRAIN WRECK At Union Square corner of Union and Water Streets, Rockland, occurred October 4th 1912 when Ted Maguire’s fruit wagon was struck at the crossing by a steam engine. Several people were killed and the little old engine was overturned. RAILROAD  By MARTHA CAMPBELL Beginning with 1846 a million and a half persons departed from Ireland within a period of 10 years. Most came to the United States, landing in New England’s coastal ports. The people were almost altogether destitute, friendless and jobless. One wonders how they found money for passage.  By a coincidence, the Old Colony railroad was beginning to build a line between Boston and Plymouth just at this time. They needed laborers to clear the right-of-way, lay the crushed stone road-bed and wrestle the heavy rails into place and spike them down. And the young Irishmen needed immediate jobs and were willing to undertake any kind of labor.  In short, they temporarily became “gandy dancers” as they referred to themselves.   As we approach Union Square, on the east side of Union Street, we are in Maguire territory. The house now numbered 197 was built in the 1860’s by Owen Maguire who was born in Ireland. It was built around the time young Maguire married Nancy O’Neil, also an immigrant from the “Ould Sod.” Owen Maguire was born in Ireland in June 1841, son of Peter and Catharine Leonard Maguire. This young man undoubtedly came over during the great migration from Ireland following the potato famine of 1846 and 1847. Potato Blight The potato blight actually originated in the United States in 1845. But in this early day of poor agricultural controls. It soon spread to Europe and Britain. In 1846 and 1847, it struck full force in Ireland where the potato was the main source of food supply. During the 5 year period beginning with 1845. Almost one million persons died in Ireland, many of them being the aged and the very young, who literally starved to death. Beginning with 1846 a million and a half persons departed from Ireland within a period of 10 years. Most came to the United States, landing in New England’s coastal ports. The people were almost altogether destitute, friendless and jobless. One wonders how they found money for passage. Railroad By a coincidence, the Old Colons’ railroad was beginning to build a line between Boston and Plymouth just at this time. They needed laborers to clear the right-of-way, lay the crushed stone road-bed and wrestle the heavy rails in to place and spike them down. And the young Irishmen needed immediate jobs and were willing to undertake any kind of labor. In short, they became “gandy dancers” as they referred to themselves. The railroad passing through Old Abington is credited with bringing Irish in droves to these parts. By the time of the 1850 census, the railroad was completed but we find 275 adults still living in Old Abington who listed themselves as “born in Ireland”. They came here, found permanent work for themselves, and stayed. The entire population of the old town (then including what is now Abington, Rockland, and half of Whitman) was about 5300. Two hundred and seventy-five new combers was a sizable number of “foreigners” to be absorbed in such a community within a period of 3 or 4 years. Maguire Although the only male Maguire in this locality on the 1850 census was William who was “living in” with Daniel Torrey Jr., by 1855 we see the following Maguire’s paving taxes in Old East Abington: Daniel, James. James “2”. John. Patrick and William (by then living in his own house at what was later to be numbered 43 Bigelow Avenue). Owen Maguire was still too young to he included on a tax list in 1855. But by the late 1860’s he had built a home for himself and established a fruit business. “He built up quite a large business and took his sons in with him” wrote Mr. Frank S. Alger in the Diamond Anniversary edition of the Rockland Standard on 12 September 1929.  Owen and Nancy had a number of children during these years. Perhaps the best remembered are Terence E. (“Ted”) Maguire and his young brother, Fred, who continued their father’s business. Ted was an up-and -coming young man. It’s almost unbelievable, but it seems that in 1883, when he was only 18 years old, he undertook to erect a business building on the corner lot next to the family home. “Terence E. Maguire’s new fruit store on Union, corner of Water Street, is nearly completed, and will be opened today for the first time.” We read in the Rockland Standard of 18 August 1883. “Mr. Maguire will keep his new establishment stocked with a fine assortment of fruit, confectionery, and cigars.” Although his father paid the taxes on his property it is significant that Editor Smith attributed the building of the store to Ted. The corner is now occupied by Burke’s Pharmacy and South Shore Cleaning. Train Collision Ted Maguire was a familiar figure at the annual Marshfield and Brockton fairs. In fact, it was the latter which almost proved his undoing in 1915. Ted, who was dozing on his wagon on the way home from Brockton Fair, late that year, tangled with the dummy engine of the Hanover branch which was dead-heading back to the main line in North Abington. We showed a picture of his overturned wagon in the Standard on Wednesday. 12 March 1969. This was in connection with a story on the Hanover Branch which was run in as a sort of Research Reporter column, and which we have numbered 135a. One of Ted’s Daughters, the late Blanche G. Maguire. was well known music teacher in this area. If she was indicative of inherited talent, then this must have been an unusually musical family. The old family home is now occupied by the office of Dr. John J. Howard, optometrist. Union Square Actually Union Square is not very old. Union Street itself was not put through until 1813, and Water Street was not extended westward from Liberty Street until 1854.  In the town report of Old Abington of that year we read that the County Commissioners ordered the laying out “about 500 rods from the west end of Water Street, thence to near Arioch Thompson’s on Central Street to be completed before the first day of December, 1855.   In other words, from the intersection of Liberty and East Water Streets westward across Union Street, to the junction with Central Street, near the Abington line. Arioch Thompson lived in the house in the fork of West Water and Central Streets.  Thus was Union Square formed, only a few years before the Civil War. It was widened to its present proportions in 1898. There is nothing about this Square to commemorate the Civil War, however a War Memorial monument to the Rockland boys who made the supreme sacrifice in the Spanish-American war of 1898 and World Wars I and 2 was erected there and dedicated in 1949. Railroad The Hanover Branch was built in 1867 and began service e in 1868. It crossed Union Street at Union Square and, for years, there were gates protecting the crossing. Gate-keepers manned these barricades, lowering them while the train passed, and raised them when it was safe for traffic to resume. The railroad train, of course, received precedence.  The first railroad station was a shed-like affair with a platform running parallel to the tracks and located on the southeast of the intersection. next to the tracks and street. It was in this little building that the Rockland Saving Bank had it’s beginning when Zenas Jenkins, the first treasurer, was also ticket agent for the Hanover Branch.    The “new” railroad station, built farther back from Union Street, is now abandoned by the line, and is presently Jim’s Liquor Store. End of Business District Having arrived at Union Square, we have come to the end of the Hill’s business district. From here, southward, we shall revert to the procedure of mentioning only houses which were shown on the 1830 map, or houses about which we have some interesting comments.  However, we must mention three other business enterprises before we leave this locality. One, whiqb is Albert Culver Co., which stil1 flourishes. The second is the big factory of “The Rockland Co.”, which once stood her and was an early cooperative venture in shoemaking, and the last is the rooming house now known as the hotel Thomas. Albert Culver Albert Culver, who was born in Poultney, Vermont, came to old East Abington and was a bookkeeper for Jenkins, Lane & Son’s shoe factory. In 1862, he married Nancy S. Howland of East Abington. He caught the eye of Mr. E. Y. Perry, and then Mr. Perry became interested in establishing business enterprises along the Hanover Branch railroad for the mutual advantage of both shipper and conveyor, backed young Culver in the Establishment of hay. grain and coal company. The late James W. Spence became treasurer of A. Culver Company. and his son, Robert J. Spence. now manages the company that specializes in fuel oil. The Rockland Company The 1879 map of Rockland shows a large factory building between the old railroad station and the building now known as the Hotel Thomas. Five years previous to this it does not show up on the 1874 map, so we can assume it was built during the interim. Mr. William H. Bates was the manager of this shoe factory. The company continued manufacturing until the 1890’s. After some trouble, Mr. Bates attempted to reorganize it and moved the company to Church Street, but it was not successful.   Richardson House The building now known as the Hotel Thomas was built in 1893. In the Rockland Standard of March 20 of that year we read: “Mr. B. F. Richardson is moving from his quarters on Vernon Street to the fine new building for his boarding house business on Union Street.
HOTEL THOMAS
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FAMOUS TRAIN WRECK