On this day, 155 years ago …

After a grisly murder on the edge of Evergreen Cemetery in 1868, church deacon Samuel Andrews was convicted of killing Kingstonian Cornelius Holmes. Photograph held by the Local History Room.

On the edge of Evergreen Cemetery one hundred and fifty-five years ago this morning, the discovery of a body and an ensuing murder charge against a church deacon shocked and divided Kingstonians.

Local true crime author John Gallagher is writing an account of Cornelius Holmes’s murder, which in 1868 was one of the most horrific crimes ever committed in the history of Plymouth County. The murder of the wealthy scion of one of Kingston’s most prominent families split the community as the defendant, Samuel Andrews, claimed

Excerpts from Gallagher’s forthcoming book are expected to be published in Kingston 300’s new illustrated history of the town, which is being prepared for the 300th anniversary in 2026. The sordid details of Holmes’s murder and Andrews’s conviction (he served more than 14 years of a 20-year sentence) pit neighbors against each other.

Stay tuned for more in the months ahead. We welcome your submissions and ideas for the book project at http://www.kingston300book.com

John F. Gallagher served with the Boston Police Department for more than thirty years and rose to

become superintendent and chief of detectives. He is the author of four historical nonfiction books, including, A History of Homicide in Hanover: Murder on Broadway; Arsenic in Assinippi: The Trial of Jennie May Eaton for the Murder of Her Husband, Rear Admiral Joseph Eaton, the story of a 1913 murder in Norwell; A Monument to Her Grief: The Sturtevant Murders of Halifax, chronicling an 1874 triple murder; and Passion, Poison, and Pretense: The Murder of Hingham’s Postmaster, from 1857. His books are available at www.gallagherbook.com.

Where were you when …?

Photograph held by the Local History Room, Kingston Public Library

On October 20, 1948, a 30-ton finback whale came ashore north of the town pier at the end of River Street (or the Ah-De-Nah). Measuring 42 feet in length, this would have usually been a human interest story, but it developed into a Board of Health problem when it became necessary to move it … (continued below)

Find out more in the upcoming Kingston 300 book, an illustrated history for the town’s 300th anniversary. To learn more about the project join us at an open house May 18 from 6:30-8 pm at the Adams Center!

Topics at the open house include:

– Share proposed scope of book, topics so far
– Hear your ideas
– Meet fellow contributors
– Timeline for contributions and publishing
– Show sample writing styles and lengths, guidelines
– Visual content: photos, maps, postcards
– Alongside the book: Gathering oral histories; dig deeper with online resources; social media

… continuing a “Whale of a Tale”

It became necessary to move it.

The Highway Department with the additional help of power machinery loaded the whale on a heavy duty platform trailer and carried it to the town dump where it was buried. The said dump was a huge hole under what is now the Summer Street Plaza, site of Stop and Shop today.

My grandparents lived on River Street so we had good seats to the process, which took several days as special equipment had to be obtained and town decisions took as long in those days as today, even without cell phones. The longer it took, the more people visited the site becoming a traffic mess (River Street was almost dead-end as the streets to the south were only dirt roads) and the decomposition odor was awful.

—Jan Guidoboni

Photograph held by the Local History Room