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.