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William C. Pease

I found these photographs in the Emerson file on Digital Commonwealth and it stirred my curiosity to learn more about the subject. The Emerson photographs document life in Longmeadow in the early 1900s. The subject of these pictures is Longmeadow resident William C. Pease and they were taken by amateur photographer Paesiello Emerson in 1910.

William Collins Pease was born in Feeding Hills on November 30, 1830, and raised in Somers, Connecticut. He was the oldest of nine children. Pease moved to Philadelphia for a time in 1855 and worked as a tobacco merchant. He married Cornelia Skinner Coomes, of Longmeadow in 1857. She was one of five daughters. The Peases moved to Longmeadow in 1867 after the death of Cornelia’s father. A mention in the local paper noted, “Wm. C. Pease of Philadelphia purchased the farm and residence of the late Samuel Skinner Coomes of Longmeadow, including utensils, stock & etc, for $9000.” This is equivalent to $180,000 today. In the 1860 census, the farm had 2 horses, 2 milch (sic) cows, 7 other cattle, 14 bushels of rye, 100 bushels of corn, and 2000 lbs of tobacco. The home is located at 857 Longmeadow Street.

Mr. Pease carried on in farming, apparently specializing in hay, and later owned considerable acreage down in the meadows.

"Two men hunting - William Pease" c.1910

Emerson Photo Collection

Longmeadow Historical Society

In 1869 William Pease helped in organizing the first May breakfast, which became a longstanding Longmeadow tradition. He became the first town park commissioner and was a member of the Longmeadow Historical Society. William C. Pease was very active in the community, playing a key role in facilitating the division of Longmeadow and East Longmeadow in 1894. He served on the first board of selectmen after the division.

William and Cornelia were said to be an “unusually devoted couple.” They lost their only son in infancy, a daughter in young adulthood, and a grandson in his youth. Mr. Pease died at 83 years of age on January 20, 1914, and Cornelia died at 87 years of age on March 18, 1922. The couple is buried in the Longmeadow Cemetery.

I find it so enjoyable to learn about a captivating image, such as William Pease's, and the investigative effort is always so informative.

-Contributed by Lenny Shaker, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member

Sources: Digital Commonwealth, Emerson Photo Collection Springfield Republican Massachusetts Spy

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