Acton Memorial Library
FULL MILITARY HONORS FOR WALDO CHAPLIN
Last Grand Army Man in Concord Passed Away in Hospital; Friends Pay Tribute At Service in Union Church
Concord.—Waldo Chaplin the last surviving Grand Army man in Concord and well known retired business man, died Saturday night at the hospital at the Soldier's Home in Chelsea following a shock which he suffered Tuesday.
Mr. Chaplin was born in Acton on August 28, 1846 son of William and Sophia (Lawrence) Chaplin. He attended the Acton schools and was working on his father's farm up to the time he ran away to enlist [July 8, 1864] in the Union forces in the Civil War, serving in Co. E, [6th] Massachusetts Infantry. Shortly after the close of the war he married Harriett Ward of Winchester in Ashburnham. Later Mr. and Mrs. Chaplin moved to West Concord, then Concord Junction, where for many years he conducted a livery stable business in which his son Winfield E. Chaplin was associated with him. Chaplin was a member of the Isaac Davis Post, G. A. R., of Acton; Maynard Lodge I. O. O. F. and the Knights of Pythias of Maynard. He was recently made an honorary member of Corp. Ralph P. Hosmer the Camp, U. S. W. V. He was a prominent and honored figure in the Memorial Day parade in Concord and in the recent Night Before the Fourth parade in West Concord.
He leaves his son, Winfield E. Chaplin with whom he made his home at 81 Commonwealth avenue, West Concord and two daughters, Mrs. John Miller of Staten Island, N. Y., and Mrs. Pearl Loomer of West Concord, four grand children and eleven great grandchildren, also a brother, Herman Chaplin of West Acton.
The funeral was held yesterday at the West Concord Union church with full military honors.
He was buried with full military honors in Mt. Hope cemetery, West Acton, yesterday afternoon. The flags of the town were at half-staff.
A military escort, Corp. Ralph P. Hosmer Camp, United Spanish War Veterans, Russell Captain Herbert E. Berry, Commander James J. Mansfield Post, American Legion, Vice Commander Russell F. Parsons commanding a firing squad and buglers from Company [H], 182nd Infantry, M. N. G., in command of Sergeant John W. Hagerty, Jr. and West Concord Boy Scouts Scoutmaster Albert MacWilliams, accompanied the body to the West Concord and Union Church where the religious services were conducted by the minister, Rev. Alfred Wheeler Stone.
Deacon John R. MacKenzie sang "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" and "Abide With Me," with Miss Nina Ruble at the organ.
The Odd Fellows burial service was conducted by Maynard Lodge, I. O. O. F., Hugo Matson, Acting Noble Grand; Clifford Cheney, Acting Vice Grand; Ralph I. Jones, Acting Chaplain.
Two of the three [sic]* surviving members of the Isaac Davis Post, G. A. R., of Acton, to which Mr. Chaplin belonged, although he was a resident of West Concord, attended the funeral. They were George L. Towne, the commander, and Isaac S. Ford. Comrade [Franklin R.] Knowlton the only other living member of the post is confined to his bed. [*Not mentioned is Aaron Jones Fletcher who was still alive and living in Acton.]
There were many beautiful flowers. Many residents of West Concord, where Mr. Chaplin had been known for more than half a century, attended the services.
The pall bearers were Past Commanders John W. Hagerty, James N. Berry and Walter Blodgett of Corp. Ralph P. Hosmer Camp, U. S. W. V., Vice Commander Russell F. Parsons, Merton J. Leighton and Joseph M. Dee of James J. Mansfield Post, American Legion.
The body was taken to West Acton for burial in the family lot in Mount Hope cemetery. Spanish War Camp, which took charge of the military part of the funeral, conducted the U. S. W. V. committal service, with Captain Berry, commander; Walter P. Blodgett, adjutant, and Rev. Mr. Stone, acting chaplain, officiating.
At the conclusion of the Spanish War service, the squad from Company H fired three last volleys over the grave, and buglers Bernard Rushe and Walter Hanson of Company H blew taps, and the last remaining Grand Army man living in Concord has joined the ranks of that Grand Army beyond. The military arrangements were made by Corp. Ralph P. Hosmer Camp, U. S. W. V., of which Mr. Chaplin had recently been made an honorary member with Past Commander Walter F. Blodgett in charge.
VETERAN HAS LIVERY STABLE 50 YEARS
CAPT. WALDO CHAPLIN
G.A.R. Veteran is Grower of Prize Squashes
CONCORD JUNCTION, May 26 – Raising 87-pound yellow squashes and capturing all the squash prizes at the Acton Agricultural Fair held each year right “next door” in the village of Acton Center is nothing at all for Waldo Chaplin, 78-year-old veteran of the historic old 6th Massachusetts Regiment Volunteers, who today is celebrating his entrance into the 50th year of his vocation as livery stable keeper in this part of Concord. He is still on regular duty day and night.
“Capt” Chaplin, as he is familiarly known all over New England in G.A.R., I.O.O.F., K. of P. and A.O.U.W. circles, is almost as proud of his record as proprietor of a livery stable in old Concord town as he is of his Civil War record and his ability to dance the Portland Fancy and the old-fashioned polkas. For in his earlier years in this community comrade Chaplin attended all the country dances with the best of them, “shook a foot” at wedding parties and house-warmings, and admired the venerable Harry E, Brigham of Brigham’s Orchestra, Marlboro, who used to play for all the country dances in the old days in this section of Middlesex County.
“I Wish I Were Young Again”
“If Brigham would only come back again with that 10-piece singing orchestra of his – the first singing orchestra in the country – I would go there if I had to walk to the Acton Town Hall,” said comrade Chaplin to a Globe man today. “Those were some dances when Harry sang and played the old bass fiddle, swinging the middle around on the platform as he roared orders for the Highland quadrilles and the good old Virginia reels. Boy, I wish I were young again.” Comrade Chaplin has been conducting a livery business in Concord Junction since 1873. He was first established in the Concord village known as Westvale adjoining the town of Maynard, then moved to Main st in the center of the town where he remained for 42 years. He has been located on Commonwealth av, not far from the Massachusetts Reformatory Institute for the past six years, and intends to remain in the stable business until he answers the “last rollcall,” he says. Mr. Chaplin is a native of the town of Acton, nearby, born in a little house located at Fletcher’s Corner. His wife, one son and two daughters are living, the son being engaged in the business with his father and also conducting a garage near the stable buildings on the avenue here.
Good farmer, Too
The war veteran is a popular member of Isaac Davis Post, No. 180, G.A.R., of Acton – one of 22 surviving members of the Acton aggregation that went to war in 1861-65. He has had an eventful life in conducting livery stables here. In the old days “drummers” always stopped at the “junction” to hire rigs from the Chaplin stables with which to ride to stores in nearby towns and sell goods. Mr. Chaplin knows thousands of traveling men, and often receives birthday gifts from some of them. The Chaplin stables always kept splendid specimens of horseflesh for hire, and was a popular place in the old-time sleigh-riding days. Chaplin “hitches” have taken hundreds of Middlesex County people to “all points in the compass.” Dancing used to be enjoyed after the corn roasts and suppers, and if possible comrade Chaplin always held the reins over the chunky York State steeds drawing the men and women merrymakers on their jaunts over the country roads to the havens of old-fashioned carnivals and “parties.” “I’d like to drive down to Hosmer’s old place right now!” said comrade Chaplin today, verbally resurrecting some of his famous “sleigh ride parties.” “No automobile parties today can be compared with the delight of the old time rides into the country participated in by young and old. I wish the wheel of time would turn back a bit and I’d furnish the riding outfits free for an indefinite period, you bet!” Comrade Chaplin is a farmer on the side when the livery stable is not requiring his attention. He is also a prize winner at the county fairs, and last year won two blue ribbons and firsts for raising two mammoth squashes that weighed respectively 87 and 90 pounds. They were “the talk” of the Acton Fair, but comrade Chaplin says he will do better than that this season if it doesn’t snow before the Fourth of July.
On Comrades’ Graves
The veteran – farmer- horseman still owns several good steeds for general livery purposes. His office in the Commonwealth "horse park” is the Mecca always for old-time horse jockeys and stable cronies, as well as war veterans, among whom Waldo is mighty popular. Mr. Chapllin had an excellent Civil War record. He went to the front with the old Co E, 6th Massachusetts Regiment, volunteers, from his native town, Acton, and saw all the hard service he wanted with the rest of the brave lads from the “hill towns,” who left homes and mothers to don the blue and fight for the preservation of the Union under “Old Abe.” Comrade Chaplin always attends Memorial Day ceremonies in his old home town, Acton, decorating graves of war comrades and participating actively in the day’s memorial exercises at the different cemeteries. There are only three members surviving of the old Co E of the 6th, so far as known. Several comrades passed way during the past year and some of them sleep in eternal bivouac in both Mt. Hope and Woodlawn Cemeteries, in Acton. Comrade Chaplin will assist in decorating the graves of all his old comrades in that town with Isaac Davis Post, next Wednesday.