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A Funeral, 1909

Longmeadow Historical Society's Emerson Photographic Collection is a treasure trove of photographs documenting Longmeadow in the early 20th century. Paesiello Emerson led a fascinating life and took up photography as a hobby in his older age. Most of his photos are of houses and streets in town, but occasionally something of a completely different nature captures your attention.

When recently exploring photographs in the collection I came across an image that sparked my curiosity. It is of what appears to be a casket draped in black fabric and covered with floral arrangements. A distinguished gentleman poses above it while standing at a lectern. It is from a funeral at the First Church that was documented by Paesiello Emerson on June 7, 1909. I wanted to learn more about the deceased and the church’s minister at that time. This was the funeral of Charles S. Allen, a prominent Longmeadow citizen. The minister was Reverend Henry L. Bailey.

The deceased, 61-year-old Charles Salisbury Allen, was born on October 22, 1847, in Windsor, CT. After living in Hartford his family moved to Longmeadow in the fall of 1864. Charles’ father, Brinton Allen, purchased the Henry Keep large stock and dairy farm on Green Street, an old name for what is now the southern end of Longmeadow Street.

Charles S. Allen, who later resided at 892 Longmeadow Street, became a very active member of the Longmeadow community. Mr. Allen ran a grocery store at 776 Longmeadow Street, today the location for the Spa on the Green. He was also engaged in farming, had a coal and wood yard, owned several rental properties, and for many years was the postmaster. He was married and had seven children. He died following surgery for a perforated peptic ulcer complicated by an intraabdominal abscess. This was in the pre-antibiotic era.

The minister in the photo, Reverend Henry Lincoln Bailey became the ninth pastor of the First Church in 1901.

Springfield Republican, November 14, 1901

Bailey was born in Brattleboro, Vermont May 8, 1865, and graduated from Middlebury College and the Hartford Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1889 and served in India and Vermont before coming to Longmeadow in 1901. Reverend Bailey resigned from his pastorate after 15 years in the fall of 1916 coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the First Church. He resided at 169 Crescent Road until his death on January 21, 1943.

Reverend Bailey remained active as a guest pastor, served as editor of the Springfield Weekly Republican for eight years, and also as a Longmeadow town moderator. Both Charles S. Allen and Henry L. Bailey are buried in the Longmeadow Cemetery. -Contributed by Lenny Shaker, Longmeadow Historical Society Sources: Longmeadow Historical Society Springfield Republican Google Maps

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