Adin Augustus Ballou
Thanksgiving At Hopedale
Thursday the 27th of last month, was the long wished for Thanksgiving. We celebrated it in Hopedale by meeting in the Mechanic’s shop. It was very stormy without, but exceedingly pleasant within. There was a public meeting in the forenoon, and after that, a long table was set, which reached nearly around the room; and when all was ready, nearly eighty persons sat down to the table and ‘helped themselves.’ After the eating was through, a hymn composed expressly for the occasion was sung. They then cleared the tables away, and part of the company had (in my opinion) a right good game of ‘fox and geese.’ Perhaps some of the readers of the Mammoth may not know how to play this interesting game; if not, I advise them all to learn, and that quickly. But my space is full and I must close.
An online search for “fox and geese” brings up many sites with rules and directions for a number of versions. Most are for a board game, but at least one involved having “a large open area of unspoiled snow.”
The Mammoth was a newspaper put out for a time by Adin Augustus Ballou when he was a teenager. He was the son of Adin and Lucy Ballou. Here is a bit about him and his untimely death, from his father’s autobiography.
Our son, Adin Augustus, the inestimable treasure of our hearts and golden staff of our earthly hopes, was destined to an early translation for mortal conditions of existence to the abodes and societies of the angelic realm. We gave him the best common school privileges at our command till he was over seventeen years of age, and then much better ones at the State Normal school at Bridgewater, whereof that excellent scholar and disciplinarian, Nicholas Tillinghast, was principal. Meanwhile the influences of home and of the Community had been happily of a nature to develop his intellectual and moral capabilities in the right direction, and to these, as to all positive endeavors to call forth the best that was in him, he responded heartily and nobly. Though not physically strong, he yet enjoyed tolerable health which seemed to improve as he grew in years. He had an sctive, elastic mind, and a genial, cheerful temperament, which combined to render him a universal favorite among his associates, young and old. At ten years of age he entered the Hopedale printing-office, becoming expert enough at fourteen to assume charge of it as foreman. At the same time he planned, edited, and published on his own account a miniature semi-monthly paper for young people, which he facetiously entitled “The Mammoth.” It had quite a run among his friends as long as he chose to continue it.
On the 8th of August, 1850, he entered the Bridgewater school, as stated, where he prosecuted his studies through the regular year’s course and an additional supplementary term. He then stood so high in the estimation of the principal and his associates that he was cordially invited by the proper authorities to take the position of junior assistant teacher in the institution. He accepted the invitation and entered upon the duties of the position full of enthusiasm and hope, Dec. 5, 1851. Autobiography of Adin Ballou, p. 376.
Then on p. 378, Ballou continues:
Little did any of us dream at the time he was thus engaged (in his last piece of work at the print shop) what an overwhelming storm-blast was gathering its ruthless forces to paralyze our affections and blight our fondly cherished hopes. Yet so it was. Two months later, Feb. 8, 1852, the shadow of death settled down in thick darkness upon our beloved one, and all the brilliant prospects which clustered around his mortal personality vanished forever. After a few days of suffering from an insidious attack of typhoid fever, which his overtaxed energies were unable to repel, he expired at Bridgewater in the arms of his agonized parents, and his pure spirit was translated to its immortal mansion.
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