Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who Needs Vegas

A Jackpot, a historical jackpot has come in.

Yesterday morning Julie received a call from Virginia Bates Hale, the great, great, great, granddaughter of Simeon Bates, the first Light Keeper of Old Scituate Light. Rebecca and Abigail Bates had twin brothers named Ruben and Joseph and Joseph was Virginia's great, great grandfather.

Virginia called to say that her family wanted to donate a spyglass that had belonged to Joseph and Julie arranged the time. At two o'clock promptly we met Virginia and began to unravel the connection. Duncan Bates Todd joined us and she and Virginia caught up with each other and clarified the tie to the Cottage and to Simeon, Rebecca, and Abigail. Virginia brought photographs of four generations of Bates men, beginning with Joseph's son, Joseph Irving Bates (1832-1905), his son, Louis Frederick Bates (1864-1956), his son, Clinton Irving Bates 1895-1995, (Virginia's Dad) and ending with Virginia's brother, Clinton Irving Bates (1925-), a New Hampshire resident now and a true genius in wood working judging from a magazine article Virginia shared with us.

Then we got around to opening the package. Closed, the glass is 21.5 inches long. The barrel is wood and looks most like walnut. Open, the glass is 36 inches long. The optics aren't perfect but there is no problem bringing a boat passing the end of the small jetty completely into view and having it fill the eye. There is no obvious maker's mark on the barrel. The glass weighs about 4 pounds using a bathroom scale. There is a heft to it. You can almost smell the salt air and feel the waves crashing, while imagining Master Mariner Joseph Bates using it to check for whales at a distance or simply for home port. It is a remarkable thing to have been donated back to Scituate where as a young man, Haley's age, Joseph Bates would have played and worked and perhaps, slept, in the very room I write from now. Who needs Vegas? There is treasure enough here in a Monday morning phone call.



Our deepest, most heartfelt thanks go out to Virginia Bates Hale of Quincy, Clinton Bates of New Hampshire, and especially to Marjorie Bates Harrington of Colorado Springs, Colorado who received this glass from her father and with staggering generosity has returned it to Scituate.

3 comments:

  1. This is wonderful! It is a treasure, for sure. What an amazing donation.

    I'm wondering if there will be any more open houses at the lighthouse this year. I'd love to post them on my site at http://lighthouse.cc/scituate/ and http://www.my.calendars.net/nelights/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Patrick O'ConnorJuly 23, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    Bob,
    What a truly wonderful piece of history! Thank you for sharing the story. I can smell that old wood!

    As previously promised, I am sending you a ship's ballcap from the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65). I am the Supply Officer onboard this historic and majestic warship. We returned from sea today, and my wife Stacey is heading to Scituate tomorrow for vacation with my son Ryan and my daughter Emily. Julie may remember Stacey (Ferrier), as she was the photographer at our wedding. On every visit home, we walk to the lighthouse quite often from her parent's home nearby.

    If you are able, please email us at usnoconnors@cox.net, and we will arrange delivery during a walk. Unfortunately, I am not able to head home this year, as we prepare to head back to sea again.

    Thanks again for this blog, I sincerely enjoy reading it.

    Patrick O'Connor

    ReplyDelete
  3. Patrick -

    I can not wait to meet your wife and thank her in person for all your feedback to this blog. I know you have better things to do and yet you take the time to encourage. Look for an email tonight.

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to comment on any of the posts