The story of the Big Board Fence as told by Aunt Maydell

04 Dec


big board fence

When it was learned that young Dr. Joseph (Briggs) Murphy had bought the Dr. Barrows place between City Hall and the Clarence Boyden home (the old Simeon Doggett homestead) all hell broke loose. No Irish  Catholic must defile Summer St (the Sacred precincts of the First Parish Church). Mrs. Boyden lived next door, her brother-in-law Judge Fox on the corner of Spring, the Colonel Masons on the other corner.  Although Mary Briggs had married a graduate of the Royal College of Surgeons and their son was a graduate of Harvard, he bore the name of “Murphy” and was a Roman Catholic. No such person could settle in the elite neighborhood of Summer Street. Just before your father was born at #23 Summer, my mother heard a great pounding one night.  There was Judge Fox superintending the erection of a solid two-story wood fence, not a foot from the whole side of the house.  In a few days it was complete and the Murphys were in darkness.  Meanwhile Father tood it to the courts, but Grandfather Bliss didn’t wait.  He was a brawny six-footer, an excellent carpenter, and he walked from Kilton St. to Summer St. with a ladder on his shoulder and a saw in his hand, he then proceeded to saw window-holes in the Boyden fence. Mrs. Boyden ran out screaming. Judge Fox appeared with an axe, but Grandfather persevered. Your father was born at #23 Summer St. in the light of a new day.  Judge Bennett decided in favor of the Murphys. The fence came down.

The picture of the fence is curtosy of Uncle Jack.  Thank you!

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Murphy Family, Photos


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