All posts by Ken Brack

Ken is the president of Kingston 300, Inc., a nonprofit formed in 2020 to publish a new illustrated history of Kingston. He is a narrative nonfiction author and blogger at, and an independent publisher at Float Tide Publishing,

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

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

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

If you’re having a “Gray” day, consider this …

Ah-De-Nah before snow-rain mix, January 2023

Back in 1767, a Kingston farmer named John Gray eeked out a living during the grim winter. He  kept a diary with brief entries about those raw January days.

Gray operated a large farm in today’s Rocky Nook, spent some early years at sea, and later served as a colonel in the Revolution. Here are some daily excerpts over two weeks in January 1767:

9 Fryday (sic) – Cut and carted one load of wood.

10 Saturday – Butchered 1 swine and it begins to snow. Mended my hog sty.

11 Sabbath – Heard Mr. Rand preach from Matthew 17.5. Pleasant weather.

12 Monday – Winnowed out the wheat and began to thresh my rye.

12 Tuesday – Threshed rye. Etc. Rainy.

14 Wednesday – Ditto and winnowed 5 bushels.

…20 Tuesday – The ice begins to thaw. I am in hopes of striving with a team soon. Carted 1 load of wood for S.G.

21 Wednesday – Cut and carted 1 load of wood. Removed the widow Robbins household goods and carted her 1 load of wood. It begins to be very cold.

22 Thursday – The ways are rough and icy. This morning small showers of snow and cold. Went to mill. Bad traveling.

When we tire of grinding it out, it can be fun to look back!

Help us spread the word about Kingston 300, a volunteer project compiling a new illustrated history of Kingston for its 300th anniversary in 2026. We invite contributors of family histories and anecdotes, less known bits of local history, photos, other art, and much more! Contact Ken Brack at or the other directors listed on our website,

Courtesy of Tom Vendetti, “The Diaries of Colonel John Gray – Kingston Farmer, Revolutionary War Patriot, Town Officer.” River House Publishing, Kingston. 2020.

Introducing Kingston 300: a fresh history of our town, its people and heritage

Our goal is to present Kingston’s compelling history in an easy-to-read book ahead of the 2026 tricentennial.

This new illustrated history will feature short narratives and fresh accounts from primary sources that add to established town histories, chronicling our townspeople’s participation in defining events and daily life through different eras. We welcome your contributions, whether “then and now” items from your neighborhood, snapshots of family histories, postcards, or other historical items.

Formed by local history enthusiasts, the book will draw from the lives of Kingston’s founders, to its patriots and shipbuilders, its exceptional women, civic and religious leaders, its craftsmen, entrepreneurs, and artists. A unifying theme is how the community grew along the Jones River, its tributaries and waterfront, sustained by abundant natural resources and its ingenuity.

With Kingston’s 300th anniversary less than four years away, we are reaching out to potential contributors this year!

Please contact Ken Brack at, Tom Vendetti at, or Jan Guidoboni at

Help us cast a wide net!

Sunrise at Delano’s Wharf. Courtesy of David Tewksbury (also the header photo of the waterfront).

Kingston 300 invites you                                                                                                    

  • Contribute your family histories and anecdotes
  • Contribute photos, postcards, and historical items
  • Help us reach community members for their stories
  • Reach veterans, first responders, athletic and social organizations, and many more
  • Help celebrate your neighborhood’s history 

Who we are

  • Volunteer group of residents, history enthusiasts
  • Formed a nonprofit corporation, Kingston 300, Inc., in 2020
  • Not an official town entity
  • Goal is to publish full-color book by fall of 2025
Postcard sent by Joseph Finney to Mary Fries, postmarked November 21, 1917.
Held by the Kingston Public Library Local History Room Image Collection (IC7).
Photograph held by the Kingston Public Library Local History Room Image Collection (IC7).

Contributors’ rights

Contributors to the book—whether submitting written materials, photography, or other art—have two options for your rights of authorship.

The first way is to retain your right of authorship—giving you the right to repurpose original content—by granting Kingston 300, Inc. non-exclusive rights to publish your work. A second option is to transfer your individual author’s rights to Kingston 300, Inc. as the publisher of a collective work. These are standard written agreements, and please do whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Writers and other contributors to the book will be asked to sign a written agreement choosing either option. All contributors will be credited appropriately. Kingston 300 intends to seek voluntary contributed content rather than commissioned “for-hire” submissions.

Written content types & lengths

– Snippets: use for timelines, factoids—a paragraph or two
– Short length sidebars, up to three paragraphs – eg. “Did you know? …” or “Remember when? …” and short personal profiles, etc. – a few hundred words
– Mid-sized articles – 500 to 1,000 words
– Main articles, chapter length and within sections
 Possible ranges: 1,500 -1,700 words for a “short chapter” to 2,500 words for longer ones

Please contact either Ken, Tom, or Jan using our emails above for any questions and other guidelines. We look forward to your ideas and input!