, Derry, New Hampshire


July 4, 2013

Column: Three horse tales from the archives

It’s summertime again. It’s time for vacation, hammocks, cookouts and lemonade. It’s also that time each year when I don’t feel the call to work long hours at the microfilm machine or reading dusty volumes of forgotten lore.

The heat makes me lazy and, of course, there’s also my hay fever. So each year about this time I take it easy by writing my article from stuff I find in the file cabinets in my office. In those folders are little snippets too small to stand alone so I combine them into a full article. Here are three snippets from my horse file.

In April 1906, Derry police Chief Albert Roberts got a telephone call from the Lawrence, Mass., police. They were asking Roberts to be on the lookout for a wagon and horse which had been stolen from the city. A reliable source had led them to believe that it was heading to Derry.

Searching through the town, the constable found the purloined carriage and team at Fred Brown’s stable at 57 West Broadway. The horse showed signs of being driven “very hard.” Soon, Chief Roberts located the thief who left the animal that morning hours before sunrise. It was an 8-year-old boy.

Quickly, the whole story came out. His father was in jail in Derry for public drunkenness. The boy missed his dad and late at night snuck out of a relative’s house while everybody was asleep. In the dark, he stole a wagon and team from a closed-for-the-night livery stable. When arrested in Derry, the young criminal wasn’t wearing shoes or stockings.

Roberts notified the Lawrence authorities and soon the horse’s owner came to Derry by train. He paid Brown the stable fee and drove his property back to the city. The barefoot boy was put on the 5 o’clock train under the careful watch of the conductor.

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