Amy Johnson Crow had me stuck with this week’s topic for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, because social events didn’t really come up in my family. Sure, we had some holiday and summer get-togethers and the occasional reunion. But I have very few stories about my ancestors going out and being sociable outside family.
One story I do have is that my great-great grandmother Ernesta used to attend dances in her hometown of Moneglia, Italy. She and a family friend, Francesco Gola, both went to these dances. Ernesta and Francesco also both emigrated to Middleborough, Massachusetts with their spouses and had families there. I wish I knew more about these dances and the kind of social life my great-great grandmother had in Moneglia as a young adult.
The most social thing I could think of about my family was the fact that my 4th great-grandfather, John Winsor, ran the Cracker Tavern in Duxbury, Massachusetts.
The Cracker Tavern counted well-known figures such as Henry Thoreau and Daniel Webster among its patrons. The Reminiscence of Pauline Winsor Wilkinson says, “Some of the boys who had gone into business in Boston and came down occasionally for a dance or a two-weeks vacation dubbed the Tavern with the name of “The Cracker,” because at every meal they had on the table the large soft crackers that were always used in clam or fish chowder.”
My 4th great-grandfather must have been a sociable person himself, to run such a business. He is even mentioned in an essay Thoreau wrote about a mackrelling excursion to Clark’s Island with him in his book Cape Cod, Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. Publishers, New York, 1908. Pages 77-78. You can read the entry at Project Gutenberg. I imagine it doesn’t get more social than being a tavernkeeper!