MORNINGS ON MAPLE STREET VOLUME TWO

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Quabbin Boy Rescued From Obscurity, Page One

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At entrance to Quabbin Park Cemetery, Ware, Massachusetts, 2011. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

QUABBIN BOY RESCUED FROM OBSCURITY (2011)

"Well there's one kind favor I'll ask of you/Well there's one kind favor I'll ask of you/There's just one kind favor I'll ask of you/You can see that my grave is kept clean." -from a song by Blind Lemon Jefferson

On July 31, 1927, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorialist F. Lauriston Bullard wrote a heartbreaking essay for the New York Times about the impending forced resettlement of several thousand residents of the Swift River Valley towns of Western Massachusetts: Greenwich, Enfield, Dana and Prescott. The state was planning to take control of the valley and construct two dams, which would direct water from the Swift River and the Ware River into what would become the Quabbin Reservoir, creating a supplemental supply for the Boston metropolitan area. Not only did the residents need to be relocated, but so did the graves and markers of their ancestors. Bullard's eloquent words still haunt us 84 years later.

"The elms and lilacs, the apple trees and the pines, the farmhouses and the red brick schoolhouses, six churches and twelve cemeteries (the one at Greenwich with 1,500 bodies); some of the finest trout brooks in the State, ponds, roads, byways, woods, meadows, all are soon to disappear."

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Greenwich, Massachusetts, early 1900s. Burt Brooks photo courtesy of Les Campbell. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Only 30 minutes from my home, the Quabbin Reservoir is the site of many scenic walking trails, providing my wife and me a lovely place to spend the day, especially in the fall. But until recently, we had never visited historic Quabbin Park Cemetery. We wandered around one morning, going from gravestone to gravestone. Just when we were getting a little weary of it, something caught our attention.

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Quabbin Park Cemetery, 2011. Note tiny stone in middle of photo, on edge of road. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Right by the edge of the woods at the south end of the cemetery, next to a dirt road, was a tiny, solitary gravestone. As we approached it, we noticed that there was no inscription. But when we walked around to the other side facing the woods, we saw it, covered with dirt and lichen. It was very difficult to read, but we finally figured out what it said: F. Lloyd Adams 1893 - 1906. We wondered who the boy was, what caused him to die at such a young age, and why the gravestone was turned around the wrong way.

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Quabbin Park Cemetery, 2011. Note stone in the foreground, lower left of photo. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

The next morning, I drove back with a jug of water and a soft brush and gently cleaned the stone.

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Quabbin Park Cemetery, 2011. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

When I got home, the search for F. Lloyd Adams began. I looked him up on FamilySearch.org, a well-known genealogy website. I found something right away.

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