16 September 2010

Treasures from a Church Fair

Sweet little church, Kings Landing Historical Settlement, New Brunswick

I was the Church Historian at the First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury for about six years. In 1998 I met my predecessor, Barbara Santon, when I was taking the National Genealogical Society's Basic Course in American Genealogy. One assignment was to go to a church and learn about their archives. Barbara was the Church Historian and was so friendly and welcoming I loved her instantly! We must have talked and laughed for three hours that day, and before I left she was already grooming me to take over, as I happened along just as her term was ending. Lucky me!

Barbara called herself "The Hat Lady" because she loved to wear fancy hats: not the Red Hat Society kind of hats, but classy, British wedding-type hats. Gloves, too! She was smart as a whip, a very snappy dresser, had a bawdy sense of humor and was a dedicated worker. Anyway, one of the many talents Barbara shared with the church was her ability to organize a church fair. She had a favorite poem which she had unearthed in the archives. Though it describes a springtime fair, I thought it appropriate for the season, as in New England, we tend to have lots of fairs in the Fall due to our gorgeous yearly pageantry of color.

The poem had no source attributed, but seemed to be written by the ladies in the congregation who were organizing the fair.



“LINES" ON AN EARLY FAIR 1838

Thrice welcome are ye all, kind friends,
To meet us here today,
Ye’ve called to see our fairy things
This twenty-fourth of May.

We welcome thee, for here thine eyes
With pleasure shall behold
A multitude of pretty things
All ready to be sold.

Here is a beau for some fair lass,
All dressed in sailor’s clothes,
He will ne’er give thee one cross look,
Nor will he come to blows.

Here is a lady gay and prim,
Say, will you buy her too?
Her clothes are fine, and then her cheeks
Are of the reddest hue.

Here’s pin-balls, cheats, and needle-books,
Of various form and size,
And hearts rejoice with Scripture lines
To make you truly wise.

Here’s dickeys, ruffled bosoms too,
For gentlemen to wear,
And for the ladies, turbans, nets
Which will preserve the hair.

Here’s tulips, cherries, flowers, to sell,
With baskets, boxes fine.
And racks to hold the ladies’ cards,
And useful in their line.

Come buy; the object’s truly good;
The poor and needy claim
A portion of your liberal hand;
They’ll thank you for the same.

It is more blessed, as we read,
To give than to receive,
And we shall feel the promise sure,
If we this truth believe.

And now we proffer you our thanks,
And ask you for a share,
And hope you never will repent
Of coming to our Fair.

First Congregational Church, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

I can't find access info on this year's fair, but here's a newspaper announcement from a couple of years ago.

SATURDAY, OCT. 25, 2008
Church Fair — The First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury plans a Church Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the “gems” at the always-popular Jewelry Table, there will be jams and jellies, baked goods, knit and craft goods and plants for sale. There will also be a Silent Auction, Flea Market and Cookie Walk. The First Congregational Church is the Church on the Green in the center of Shrewsbury at Main Street and Route 140. All are welcome.

2 comments:

Marian Pierre-Louis said...

Wonderful images evoked. Love the photos. I am such a New Englander who ironically springs from mostly non New England stock.

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

I absolutely adore that first photograph! Now THAT is a church I want to attend!