Marblehead Sixty Years Ago – February 9, 1956



Anyone related to Edward Walter Farrell?  He is the second from the left in this World War I glass negative from my collection. Does anyone know the other people in the photo?  It just so happens that in February 1956 he was selected to be the recipient of the Swampscott-Marblehead Brotherhood Scroll as he was an outstanding citizen.  He was born March 16, 1892 to William and Mary K. Sweet Farrell.  He married Mabel Louise Odiorne on June 13, 1925 in Marblehead. They had two sons Edward Jr. and Richard.  Both of these men were serving their country in 1956; Edward in the Navy in Japan and Richard in the Army on European duty.  The family lived at 291 Washington Street.

This award was given annually to a resident of Swampscott or Marblehead for unselfish and outstanding contributions to the welfare and brotherhood of his fellow townsmen.  During World War I, Eddie served in the Navy under Commander Harry Chapman, also from Marblehead.  He was the Adjutant for more than 18 years for the Marblehead American Legion.  In 1956 he held the longest paid membership in the Y.M.C.A. He served on the Board of Welfare and was a member of the Housing Commission.  He was director and former Vice President of the Marblehead Savings Bank; Treasurer and Manager of the Charles A. Slee Insurance Agency and in World War II he was head of the Civil Defense for Marblehead.

Eddie died on September 10, 1961 at the age of 69 in the Mary Alley Hospital.  According to his obituary “he had a marvelous collection of Old Time Marblehead pictures” and there was a rumor back then that he was writing a History of Marblehead.  Anyone know?


Who remembers lining up in school to drink the polio drink?  I know I did around 1959/1960 at the Gerry School. Can remember lining up in the hall on the first floor and receiving our little white cup of juice.

The name Walt Dropo familiar to anyone?  On February 3, 1956 he left Marblehead for Miami, FL and spring training with the Chicago White Sox.  It was said that Walt “was one of the greatest players for the Boston Red Sox in the Post World War II era.”

Seems like history may repeat itself.  I believe I read in the current day police logs (2016) that there was an accident at the Lead Mills, (don’t quote me on that one.) On February 8, 1956 there was a snow storm (think there is going to be one this February 8 also) causing icy roads and an accident at the Lead Mills.  There was a young former Marblehead girl, Miss Judith Parker who skidded and  crashed her car through the temporary barriers and plunged ten feet into the icy water. She was rescued.  Two weeks before that at the same spot, however, due to icy roads a car went over the bridge, plunged into the water and claimed the life of a Lynn man.

Finally, don’t forget your Valentine

Abby Mays




3 thoughts on “Marblehead Sixty Years Ago – February 9, 1956

  1. I’m not related, but knew Ed Farrell a bit. My mother Eleanor Williams Tucker (1911-1995) was the oldest of eight Williams children. She graduated from MHS in 1928 and went to work to help support the family. She worked for Ed Farrell at Charles A. Slee Agency. She was always grateful for the job. They were friends. We always had our insurance there. I find it ironic the the Slee agency has been at 25 Atlantic for years, site of my dad’s store, Damon Tucker’s.


  2. You are younger than I. We lined up for shots at the Coffin School in the first trials of the Salk Vaccine. I think it was second grade. I remember some had to have blood taken as part of the trial and I was so relieved when Lauren Stuart was selected, sparing me. Still have my Polio Pioneer card.


  3. I remember the injected Salk vaccine in the late 1950’s. We all went to Abbot Hall to the auditorium. We lined up and, as I hated needles, I was wailing loudly. We got up to the head of the queue and I was still wailing. The doctor quieted me down and asked if I was ready. I said “Yes” and he replied “I gave you the shot while you were crying. Next!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s