FC 98 Lost Boston with Anthony Sammarco

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Anthony Sammarco, the author of the book Lost Boston.

Bio – Anthony Sammarco

Since 1997, Anthony Sammarco has taught history at the Urban College of Boston, and his course “Boston’s Immigrants” is based on his book of the same name to highlight the Lost Boston with Anthony Sammarco on Fieldstone Commoncity’s diversity. He was named educator of the year in 2003 and he serves on the UCB’s Leadership Council. Mr. Sammarco received the Bulfinch Award from the Doric Dames of the Massachusetts State House and the Washington Medal from the Freedom Foundation and was named Dorchester town historian by Raymond L. Flynn, mayor of Boston. He was elected a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, is a member of the Boston Author’s Club and is a proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum. In his volunteer work, he is treasurer of the Victorian Society, New England Chapter, and a trustee of the Forest Hills Cemetery Educational Trust. He is past president of the Bay State Historical League and the Dorchester Historical Society. He lives in Boston and in Osterville on Cape Cod.

Book Summary

A nostalgic journey back in time to visit some of the disappeared buildings and places in all their grandeur, before the wrecking ball and decline set in.

From the 1850s up to the present day, 68 different losses are represented here, including schools, churches, theaters, grand mansions, dockyards, racetracks, parks, stores, hotels, offices, and factories. Organized chronologically starting with the earliest losses and ending with the latest, the book features much-loved insitutions that failed to stand the test of time, along with old-fashioned hotels and sports facilities that were beyond updating or refurbishment. Losses include Franklin Place, Boston City Hall, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Hancock House, Gleason’s Publishing Hall, Fort Hill, Franklin Street, Boston Coliseum, Boylston Market, Merchants Exchange, Haymarket Square, Boston Public Library, Horticultural Hall, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Revere House (Hotel), Huntington Avenue Grounds, Charlestown City Hall, Molasses Tank, Cyclorama, Readville Trotting Park and Race Track, East Boston Airport, Boston Latin School, East Boston Ferries, Braves Field, Massachusetts State Prison, Boston Opera House, Boston Aquarium, The Howard Athenaeum, and Dudley Street Station.

Publication InfoLost Boston with Anthony Sammarco on Fieldsotne Common

Title: Lost Boston

Publisher: Pavilion Books (2014)

Oversized Hardcover – 144 pages with lots of photos and an index.

Lost Boston is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Anthony Sammarco and I discuss the great variety of building and public places that have been removed from the Boston, Massachusetts landscape. They range from the Old Feather Shop to prisons, ferries and baseball fields. There was even a Victory Garden in what is now a park-like Copley Square. We discuss why the demolitions occurred and the way some buildings still remain but have been transformed. We also talk about the Boston Athenaeum as a historical repository and the importance of local history in the lives of neighborhood residents.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Prize Winner

One copy of Lost Boston is given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Pavilion Books.

The winner is:

  • To be announced next week

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Pavilion Books for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

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News & Announcements

Fieldstone Common is now broadcast every other week.

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.


FC 059 Witches, Rakes, and Rogues with D. Brenton Simons

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is D. Brenton Simons, author of the book Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775.


Witches, Rakes, and Rogues with D. Brenton Simons on Fieldstone Common

D. Brenton Simons

D. Brenton Simons, is the President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Massachusetts.

Currently piloting a groundbreaking $50 million capital campaign, Brenton Simons has led the Society to major growth in its national services and scope and to its pivotal role in the popular expansion of the genealogical field in America.

A staff member since 1993 and President and CEO since 2005, he has developed several of the organization’s most popular services, including its website, member magazine, and special publications imprint. In addition, he is the author of several books, including Boston Beheld: Antique Town and Country Views and Witches, Rakes, and Rogues, winner of the 2006 Award of Merit from the Association for State and Local History.

Most recently he produced, with Atlantic Media, a short film on the society, “A Farseeing Vision,” recipient of the 2011 Silver Telly Award. His genealogical articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The American Genealogist, The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine and elsewhere. A graduate of Boston University, he is a member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the American Antiquarian Society, the Club of Odd Volumes, the Society of the Cincinnati, and is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Book Summary

Witches, Rakes, and Rogues with D. Brenton Simons on Fieldstone CommonBostonians of the colonial period may have been Puritans, but they were anything but pure. Witches, Rakes, and Rogues demonstrates that from the city’s founding until the Revolution, Boston’s narrow, twisting streets were crawling with witches, murderers, con men, swindlers, and blackguards.

By digging deep into the city’s records, Simons reveals a veritable rogues’ gallery, and even uncovering the truth – in “Murder by Arsenic: The Ill-fated Greenleaf Children” – about Boston’s first documented serial murder. Other true tales include “The Turbulent Passions of Ann Hibbins,” “The Diabolical Possession of Martha Robinson,” “The Extortion Plot Against Two Gentlemen of Substance,” and stories of bigamists, thieves, miscreants and black sheep.

Book Info

Title: Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775

Publisher: The New England Historic Genealogical Society (2006)

Hardcover; 260 pages with end notes, bibliography, index and some BxW photos and illustrations.

Witches, Rakes, and Rogues is available for purchase from Amazon.com, The New England Historic Genealogical Society and other booksellers.

The Interview

Toward the beginning of the interview Brenton Simons read a passage describing the attempted murder of Cotton Mather by a granade thrown through a window.

Later on he read a first hand description by Samuel Breck of people being punished at the whipping post and the pillory and the horrible things the public threw at the criminal.

In the middle of the interview Brenton made reference to a book. It was Legal Executions in New England: A Comprehensive Reference, 1623-1960 by Daniel Allen Hearn.

Prize Winners

Two copies of Witches, Rakes, and Rogues were given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

The winners are:

  • Col. John Heavey Jr. of Kansas
  • Celia Lewis of British Columbia, Canada

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to the New England Historic Genealogical Society for their generosity in donating the books!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

News & Announcements

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 059)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 59 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the link above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

New England Research with Helen Ullmann

LIVE: THURSDAY, 12 September 2013 at 1:00pm EDTHelen Schatvet Ullmann on Fieldstone Common

This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews genealogist Helen Schatvet Ullmann, FASG, CG about her work and books on southern New England. Helen has transcribed several books on early Connecticut court records which are particularly helpful to genealogists and historians researching in the colonial period. We’ll be digging into the topics of colonial records, indexing, transcribing, editing and writing reports.

Helen Schatvet Ullmann, FASG, CG, is associate editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and editor of NEHGS’s Western Massachusetts in 1790 project. She is the award-winning author of a number of compiled genealogies, including Descendants of Peter Mills of Windsor, Connecticut; Some Descendants of Roger Billings of Dorchester, Massachusetts; Descendants of John Mills of Stamford, Connecticut; A Mills and Kendall Family History; The Pierponts of Roxbury, Massachusetts; Some Descendants of John Helen Schatvet Ullmann on Fieldstone CommonSibley of Salem, Massachusetts; and Descendants of Richard Coman of Salem, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. In addition, she is the author of many genealogical articles, as well as the transcriber of Hartford County Court Minutes, Vols. 3 & 4, and Colony of Connecticut Minutes of the Court of Assistants, 1669–1711. Ullmann lives in Massachusetts.



Put Yourself on the Air!

MicrophoneThis Thursday is your chance to get on the air on Fieldstone Common!

We’ll be celebrating the 1st anniversary of Fieldstone Common and we’d love to have some comments, questions and feedback from the audience.

There are two ways you can send feedback.


Got to www.FieldstoneCommon.com. On the right hand side of the page you’ll the SEND VOICEMAIL tab. Click that and you’ll be prompted to record a voicemail.


Send an email to mailbag@FieldstoneCommon.com and let us know what’s on your mind!

What am I going to say?!!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Have you read a Fieldstone Common book? What did you like about it?

Why do you listen to the show?

Give a shout out – Say/write your name and where you’ve been listening from.

How often you listen to Fieldstone Common?

How do you listen to Fieldstone Common – iTunes, Live, a link from social media?

What was your favorite episode?

How has the show changed your view of history and genealogy?

Have you won a book?  What was that like?


The emails will be read and the voicemails will be played in between giving out 12 books and the grand prize!


The Fieldstone Common audience is so important to making the show a success! Tell us what’s on your mind!

You can also help by spreading the word. Share the www.FieldstoneCommon.com link on your Facebook or Google+ page or on Twitter. Thanks so much for supporting the show!

Show Notes – Why Baseball Matters with Joanne Hulbert and David Lambert

Joanne Hulbert

Joanne Hulbert

Here are some items that were mentioned during the 15 August 2013 Fieldstone Common interview with Joanne Hulbert and David Allen Lambert on the topic of Why Baseball Matters.

The podcast of the interview is now available.

David Allen Lambert

Silas Simmons

David Allen Lambert

David Lambert

David Allen Lambert discovered that negro league player, Silas Simmons, was still alive in 2005.  Silas was born about 1895. That means that when David discovered him he was 110 years old. David was there at his 111th birthday celebration to present him with a plaque for his contribution to baseball. Simmons died just two weeks later.

Bill Henry

David also talked about his research into the mysterious death announcement of former baseball player, Bill Henry.  David was suspicious that the man who died in Florida was not the same as the baseball player he knew who was living in Texas. It turned out that Bill Henry was alive and well and the man who died in Florida was an imposter who had claimed to be him.  David helped prevent Red Sox Nation from mourning the loss of one of its own that hadn’t actually died.

Joanne Hulbert

Joanne talked about how baseball language has worked its way into every day American life such as in phrases like “out in left field.”

Joanne lives in Mudville in Massachusetts which is also the location for the poem Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer. She is also a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and is the co-chair for the Baseball and the Arts Committee. In that capacity she researches poems about baseball and makes them available to SABR members.

Joanne has written an article on the Medway Unions vs. the Upton Excelsiors early baseball game which is the 2nd longest game in baseball history. It was played by the Massachusetts game rules which are different than the current MLB rules which on based on the New York game. Joanne’s article is featured in a book called Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013). She has also written numerous biographies about baseball players, her favorite being of Red Sox player, Billy Consolo.

1st Anniversary Celebration balloons

On August 29th Fieldstone Common will have a 1st anniversary celebration and give away 12 books during that one hour episode. Make sure you are on the Fieldstone Common mailing list to qualify for as many of the books as possible.

Show Notes: Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples with Lucianne Lavin

Connecticut's Indigenous Peoples with Lucianne Lavin on Fieldstone CommonHere are some items that were mentioned during the 1 August 2013 Fieldstone Common interview with Lucianne Lavin about her book Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples: What Archeology, History, and Oral Traditions Teach Us About Their Communities and Their Cultures.

The podcast of the interview is now available.

Listen to internet radio with Fieldstone Common on BlogTalkRadio

You can learn more about Lucianne Lavin and her work at the Institute for American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center website. The museum is located in Washington, Connecticut and is open to visitors. It also has many exhibits and educational programs.

Lucianne recommends that anyone interested in archaeology learn about standard methodology and techniques. One suggestion would be to get involved with your state archaeology office.  If you are located in Connecticut you can check out the Connecticut Office of State Archaeology.

Also, check local community colleges for archaeology programs. The Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut has a certificate program in archaeology as an avocation.

Yale University Press, the publisher of Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples: What Archeology, History, and Oral Traditions Teach Us About Their Communities and Their Cultures, donated two copies of the book which were provided as giveaways during the live show to listeners in New York and Rhode Island. A big thank you to the Yale University Press for their generosity.

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life with Megan Marshall

LIVE: THURSDAY, 18 July 2013 at 1:00pm EDT

This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews Megan Marshall, author Margaret Fuller: A New American life with Megan Marshall on Fieldstone Commonof Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.

From an early age, Margaret Fuller provoked and dazzled New England’s intellectual elite. Her famous Conversations changed women’s sense of how they could think and live; her editorship of the Transcendentalist literary journal the Dial shaped American Romanticism. Now, Megan Marshall, whose acclaimed The Peabody Sisters “discovered” three fascinating women, has done it again: no biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving.

Marshall tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New-York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a late-in-life hunger for passionate experience. In Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller took a secret lover, a young officer in the Roman Guard; she wrote dispatches on the brutal 1849 Siege of Rome; and she gave birth to a son.

Yet, when all three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island shortly after Fuller’s fortieth birthday, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by tragedy and scandal. Marshall’s Margaret Fuller: A New American life with Megan Marshall on Fieldstone Commoninspired account brings an American heroine back to indelible life.

Megan Marshall is the author of The Peabody Sisters, which won the Francis Parkman Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography and memoir. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and Slate. A recipient of Guggenheim and NEH fellowships, Marshall teaches narrative nonfiction and the art of archival research in the MFA program at Emerson College.

Photo credit: Eric Antoniou


In Death Lamented – The Exhibit

The In Death Lamented Exhibit at the Massachusetts Historical Society

In Death Lamented exhibit at
the Massachusetts Historical Society

Recently I had the opportunity to view In Death Lamented, the current exhibit at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, Massachusetts.  The exhibit displays 3 centuries of Anglo-American mourning jewelry.

Hair braiding tool

Hair braiding tool

I had the pleasure of being guided through the exhibit by curator, Sarah Nehama who also happens to be this week’s guest on Fieldstone Common.

The Haven-Cheever Brooch

The exhibit contains two rooms full of mourning jewelry and supporting items such as paintings, embroidery and other items that further explain the story of mourning jewelry.  One of the more unusual items was a tool used to braid hair into tiny braids that could be placed in mourning jewelry or even used as the rope for bracelets or necklaces.

During the tour, we stopped to record Sarah speaking about the history and style of a single piece of jewelry – the Haven-Cheever Brooch. Listen to the audio clip (click play on the top of the page) to get a sense about why mourning jewelry was created.  Then listen in live on Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 1pm EST to hear the full interview with Sarah Nehama.

In Death Lamented
companion book

The FREE exhibit will continue at the Massachusetts Historical Society through the end of January 2013. It is well worth the trip into Boston. For those of you who live too far to visit, there is a beautiful, color companion book which features many of the jewelery pieces on display.

Exhibit: In Death Lamented, Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry
Curators: Sarah Nehama and Anne E. Bentley
Location: The Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA
Duration: Sept. 28, 2012 through Jan. 31, 2013
Cost: Free
Book: In Death Lamented by Sarah Nehama

Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis

A Very Special Day!

Marian Pierre-Louis, Ken Lockridge, Meaghan Siekman
(click to enlarge)

What do you get when you combine Fieldstone Common host, Marian Pierre-Louis and September 13, 2012 guest Meaghan Siekman and November 29, 2012 guest Ken Lockridge? A very special day!

Today Fairbanks House Curator, Meaghan Siekman and Marian Pierre-Louis welcomed Ken Lockridge and his wife as they passed through Boston on their way from Montana to Sweden.

Ken Lockridge, author of A New England Town

Ken and his wife spent the day in Dedham, Massachusetts, the subject of his book A New England Town: The First Hundred Years. Meaghan Siekman, curator of the Fairbanks House (the oldest timber-frame house in America) gave the Lockridges a tour.

The group relaxed during a fun afternoon of conversation and Ken indulged the ladies by signing all their copies of his books.

Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis