Canton Historical Society



Interest In Town’s Past
Is Not Something New

From the December 21, 1972, Canton Journal




During this 175th Anniversary Year there has been renewed interest in Canton's past. However, almost one hundred years ago residents were expressing a similar interest, perhaps proving that most of us wonder what life was really like in the days of the early settlers.

The event which pricked the residents' interest in 1879 was a fair held in Memorial Hall for the benefit of the Grand Army Post. One of the outstanding features was a collection of curiosities from the past. Since the fair was held while Daniel Huntoon was alive, his following account is first-hand:

Here were arrow and spear beads, pestles, sinkers, all turned up by the plough of some Canton farmer. Here were old corroded coins used by the early settlers, which have been dug upon the site of the May Tavern and other ancient hostelries, after being buried in the soil for nearly two centuries. Here was the autograph of Samuel Dunbar, his manuscript sermons, the pictures that once hung on the walls of the old parsonage, an old shoe buckle found in the garret of the house when' he died. Here also we see a portrait and autograph of Roger Sherman, the signer of the Declaration of Independence. Against the wall hung the bill of sale of a slave, and a chain made from the gold beads which once adorned the neck of a slave. Here was a beautifully embroidered christening dress, in which four generations had been carried to the font.

Here is the chair that General Gridley sat in, an adze he made, with his monogram and name stamped upon it; and here is the queue that was braided for the last time when they laid him in his unmarked grave. Here is an original account of the meeting' at Doty's Tavern, the original broadside of the Suffolk Resolves. On one of the tables is a teapot from which Mrs. Doty poured tea in the ancient inn under the Blue Hill. Here are the scales used by Paul Revere when a silversmith; his portrait is here. Here were his flintlock pistols, and his autograph receipting for powder which Major Thomas Crane had delivered at the Castle, from the Canton powdermill. Pewter platters, porringers, bellows, and other articles forming part of the household economy of those times, are plainly displayed."