Friday, December 2, 2011

My Dad's College Paper Part 2

Yesterday I wrote a post on finding and re-reading a paper my father wrote in college in 1953 about the Underground Railroad in Massachusetts.  It's not exceptional research, but it is sentimental to me.  I have no other college work from my Dad.  My father loved history, and it was obvious to me when I re-read his paper. This was strange because at the time he was a chemistry major at Northeastern University.  Instead of writing the usual report, he went out around Essex County exploring stations from the Underground Railroad.  He took his friend with him to photograph the sites, and he talked to people who knew the buildings that served as stations.  He earned an "A" for his hard work, which must have been why he held onto this paper. Or did my Father know that his paper included information and a letter that would be historic in just a few years.   I have no other college work from my Dad.

The note from Professor Wallace reads:


I'll post a few pages today, and more tomorrow.  Then I have some interesting new research of my own to share in my last post, on some genealogy facts and other information I learned about the people my father interviewed for his Underground Railroad paper (Mrs. Berle, Mr. Gerritson and Mrs. Mortimer), as well as what I learned about his professor, Wallace Bishop!

                                                           7 Dearborn Avenue
                                                            Beverly, Massachusetts
                                                            March 18, 1954

Professor Wallace Bishop
Northeastern University
Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Professor Bishop:

I hereby submit a report on the Underground Railroad in Massachusetts.  This report is due March 18 as a requirement of the course History 1820-90, 23 -18.

My information emphasizes two related topics; the routes of the Underground system and a typical station.

I wish to acknowledge the Essex Historical Society, the Andover Historical Society, and Mrs. Mortimer, the present occupant of the Jenkin's farmhouse, for their helpful services.  I would like to thank also Mrs. Berle of Reading and Mr. Walter Garritson of Waltham for their information on the station that once existed at Ash and Cross Streets in Reading.  

Special mention is given to Ralph Longobardi of Beverly who accompanied me on my search for a station.  The photographs, on page 13, were taken by him.

                                                       Respectfully yours,
                                                       John W. Wilkinson

The route followed to see the "stations" in Massachusetts
The Jenkins House in Andover, Essex County
 and a barn site in Reading, Middlesex County
This photo of the Jenkins Farmhouse was taken by
 Dad's friend Ralph Longobardi in 1954.
That's Dad in front.  It was on page 13 of his report.
Link to Post #1

Sunday I'll post a transcript of the paper, and on Monday I'll post some new research I did yesterday on the cast of characters in the paper, with some surprising genealogy connections I just found. 

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for making a series of this Heather. I'm enjoying it very much.

    I grew up about 4 miles from the Jenkins Farm in Andover, MA, in a 19th century house, which surely played no small part in my own interest in local history and genealogy.

    looking forward to the rest of the story.