Report of Proceedings
The Town of BARNSTABLE
MassachusettsPublished By The
Tercentenary Committee Hyannis, Massachusetts
JOSEPH CROSBY LINCOLN
The TOASTMASTER, Most of the Crosbys left Brewster more than a century ago and settled in Barnstable and built catboats and are still building them. But one Crosby family stayed in old Brewster—to Barnstable's loss and Brewster's great gain. In a later generation there was a Joseph Crosby Lincoln about whom I am sure you have all heard—although if I put it "Joe" Lincoln you would probably recognize the name more readily. He has written more novels about Cape Cod, and his novels have won greater popular acclaim, than any author the old peninsula has ever produced. Why, we Cape Codders have to read Joe's books to find out how to act, so we won't disappoint the summer folks. But why shouldn't we—Joe Lincoln probably knows us better than we know ourselves. I understand he has lost count of his novels himself, but at last reckoning there were nigh onto forty of them. Brewster calls "Joe"" Lincoln its own by reason of being his birthplace, and Chatham because of his home there. We call him a citizen of Cape Cod, and share our pride in a native son who has given the world a clean, wholesome, entertaining picture of Cape Codders. I present "Joe" Lincoln.
Mr. LINCOLN. Mr. Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentlemen and your Worship the Mayor: I should have put the Mayor first and then the other gentlemen and ladies. You have heard this afternoon much learning, very great eloquence, scraps of biography and history and now you have got to fiction. That is a great comfort to me because in the other matters I should fall short but I think I can say and you will agree with me that in fiction I haven't fallen short.
I was thinking, as I. came over this afternoon, in fact I. have been thinking for a day or two after 1 accepted my invitation, of my first visit to Barnstable. That was a good while back, in fact it was when I was a hoy and that would put it back a good many years. There are days when with a little help I think I could remember Noah. I came over here, I remember very, very well, with a group of five other Brewster boys. We were on our own; it was in my young life the first time I really went away, except to a Sunday school picnic, in any way. Six of us came over here—and Brewster was a long way from Barnstable in those days—each with an excursion trip ticket. We came over and had a remarkable time. Judging and knowing the financial circumstances of most of my juvenile friends, in those days I assure you a budget was more than an excuse for unlimited spending. I remember that I had my ticket to the Fair or the price of it and my return ticket from Barnstable and also so much budgeted for my dinner. 1 called it dinner, because we had it at 12 or almost 1 o'clock. 1 remember our dinner perfectly well, what we had and why we had it. We all had oyster stew and the reason we had it was because it was only fifteen cents and that left us ten cents, for we had budgeted twenty-five cents for our dinner. Now, that ice cream, I can see it as I stand here. It was almost crimson, it was so brilliant, that first red strawberry ice cream. My aunt had told me that red ice cream was made from some sort of bug. Now that may be talk, but I still insist that they were the finest bugs I have ever eaten. Another luxury was to have our fortunes told—a palmist told them. I am sure she was a good palmist, with the makings of a financier because her fee was twenty-five cents but she took us at wholesale price, six for fifteen cents. She asked me to give her my hand and I loaned it to her and she read it, or she said she read it. I remember she prophesied as to a dark lady, that I would live to be very wealthy, and to be married a few times. Well, I have lived a number of years since, and find her only one-third right.
I am beginning to believe that I must have fallen in love with Barnstable that day, and I have been faithful to that love ever since. I am proud to be born in the same county with the rest of you and act as a representative of the "stunted life" down the Cape. I am proud of the town, proud of the fine old houses in the town; proud of the history of the seamen who built so many of them. I would like to talk with yon about those seamen. I don't blame you for being proud of Cape Cod and of being Cape Codders. I don't know when to stop; no doubt some of you have noticed that. Now three hundred years is, in most human interests and things, a ripe old age or a grand old age. Perhaps some of the students of the day will not live to a great, ripe old age, but you all will reach the same spot in the same condition. At any rate Barnstable is at a sound old age. It is a glorious understanding that Barnstable is going to celebrate her four or live hundredth birthday and I hereby accept the invitation to attend. I accept it now because I don't expect to be detained. To all of you, to the town and its people, our friends and neighbors, my fellow Cape Codders, the old time honored birthday wish, many happy returns of the day, with a strong accent on the happy.
THE TERCENTENARY COMMITTEE—Front row, Miss M. Genieve Leonard, Miss Evelyn Crosby, Mrs. Ora A. Hinckley, Mrs. Gladys P. Swift, Miss Elisabeth C. Jenkins. Rear row, Donald G. Trayser, Reginald F. Bolles, Chairman James F. McLaughlin, Alfred Crocker, Thomas Otis.