Twins born on Onset Island

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Ralph Staples, – age 81

On July 14, 1933 twins were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ralph E. Staples on Onset Island unexpectedly. Ralph W. Staples (2 ½ lbs.) and Russell E. Staples. (3 lbs.). The babies were delivered by an aunt of the babies and it was over 3 hours before a doctor from the mainland was brought to the island to see the twins. Russell died a day or two later on the island. Ralph was wrapped in handkerchiefs and fed by an eye dropper. He was transported to the family home in Stoughton in a model T Ford.

The Staples cottage washed away during the 1938 hurricane. (The cottage washed across the bay in one piece and it broke up when it hit the ground at the Onset Mariner.) What was left of the cottage was taken by Ralph Staples to Stoughton where the materials were used to build a barn. The government did not allow the cottages that were washed away to be rebuilt. As far as I know, the only part of the Staples cottage that remained on the island was a set of cement steps. Ralph E. Staples was brother of Myrtle Mosman. Myrtle and Nahum Mosman owed a larger cottage on Onset Island for many years. So, consequently, I am the only living native of Onset Island, which I am very proud of. I would very much like to return to the island someday and search to see if the cement steps are still there. I remember, fondly, of spending many summers fishing in Nahum Mosman’s rowboat and catching many flounder. I also remember walking the waterfront on the island and picking up oysters with my grandmother. We would open them and eat them raw. (This is a good memory for me). I also remember as a very young child that we would go to the canal side of the island to watch the New York Boat come out of the canal. It was all lit up with many rows of lights. (It is still clear in my memory, what a sight). I am going to be 74 years old on July 14, 2007. It is my hope that someday I might return to the place of my birth. I also have a book called Onset Island. It has a map of the island and a page dedicated to my birth on the island.

I am married to Lillian H. (Jennison) Staples for over 47 years. We have two wonderful daughters and 5 wonderful grandchildren. Our oldest grandchild just graduated from Attleboro High School and is going to The University of Connecticut to become a doctor to work with children. (Bio-Medicine). She wants to someday work at the Children’s Hospital with children with prosthetics.

Our oldest daughter, Susan is a math professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth Texas. She has one daughter and one son. Susan comes north for a month during the summer months. We spend a lot of the time that she is here at our cottage in Northwood, New Hampshire.

Our other daughter, Carol is a Physical Therapist and lives in Attleboro, Massachusetts. She has three daughters.

I worked for many years as a printer at the Christian Science Monitor in Boston where I now receive a pension from. I have been retired over 10 years and have been active in Freemasonry in Massachusetts for over 40 years. I have been secretary of Blue Hill Lodge in Canton for over 11 years.

One of my treasures is the baby book that my mother kept the records of my birth on Onset Island in. It is small, but she wrote in it mostly every day during the first few years of my life. (I was a very sickly baby), but now I am sorry to say that I have grown from my 2 ½ pounds at birth to over 250 pounds at the age of 74!

I have wondered for years if it would be possible to someday go to the island and meet some of the current residents. (That would require being met on the mainland and rowed across). I have always wondered if the residents of the island today actually knew that a baby was born on Onset Island. I came across the Onset Island website and am sending this note to some of the names that were on the list on that site. If this interests any of you, please drop me an e-mail or give me a call.

Sincerely, Ralph W. Staples

And please check out some of these links:

Barber Cottage

Introduction by Ron Barber

My memories of Onset Island in Onset, Ma cover about 50 years from about 1960 to 2010. I will only touch briefly on the history of OnsetIsland and OnsetVillage. I will cover those histories in a future document. I will, instead, attempt to introduce you to a unique world only known to a small subset of the population – Onset Islanders.

Onset Island

Onset Island is located in the area of Massachusetts called Cape Cod. The 12 acre island sits in OnsetBay, off the village of Onset. Fifty plus summer cottages are now located on the island. The island was first used by the local natives as a summer camp and a place to harvest shell fish. I will discuss the history on OnsetIsland in another document.

Onset Village

Whether you call it Pine Point, Old Pine, Onkowam, Pine Neck, or Onset, OnsetVillage is rich in history. Onset really started to flourish in 1848 when trains arrived from Boston to carry industrial goods to market, and thus introducing Bostonians to Onset. Cottages were built, hotels constructed; and as the tourist population grew, the tourists arrived daily by train, sailboat, and steamers. Onset was once a major terminus for the old side wheeler steamboat ferries. The route included New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha”s Vineyard, and Nantucket. OnsetVillage was known as Pine Point, bought by the Spiritualists in the late 1800’s. It was not until they named their Association the Onset bay Grove Association that Pine Point begins to be thought of as Onset.

The Barber Family Cottage

The Barber Family Cottage sits on the site of one of the three earliest houses on OnsetIsland, owned by Mr. Perkins from about 1900 to 1938. Ed and Ellie Fanning owned the site from 1938 to 1954. The house was lost in the 1938 hurricane. Mr. Fanning rebuilt and enjoyed many happy years. The cottage and a grandchild were lost in the 1954 hurricane. My dad, Mal Barber, purchased the site in 1956. He and his buddies built our cottage and the Barber Family has enjoyed many wonderful years since. I was born in 1953 and my first visit was in 1955 – we rented a cottage for a one-week vacation. I’m not sure that I recall much before the 1960’s. We would spend every summer weekend and 3 weeks in August on the island. We would head for the island around 3:00pm every Friday evening and stay until Sunday afternoon. I now know that in the 1960’s and 1970’s the trip took us 2-3 hours, while today it takes about 1 hr 15 minutes from Everett to Onset.\r\n\r\nDuring the 1950’s and 1960’s, my friends and I enjoyed the unique adventures on being on an island. We could play in the sand and water. We could hunt for shellfish – quahogs, clams, scallops, oysters, and mussels. One of the points was covered with mussels and nobody seemed to eat them. At high tide we would go to the beach and swim. At low tide, we would go to the lagoon and play in the shallows trying (but never catching) tiny fish and laughing all the while. I learned to use a motor boat, sail, swim, dive, water ski, and play hard & safe on the water. During the early 1970’s, I worked on the island with Tommy Richards. We raised cottages, put on additions, did general repairs, replaced windows, painted, and shingled. I stayed on the island in our cottage by myself during the week and my family joined me on the weekends. I continued to enjoy the water, sun, and sand. I would sometimes work an 8-hour day and water ski during my lunch-hour – wow. These are things that I remember about Onset Island. I promise to share more about this wonderful place.

And please check out some of these links:

History

Onset Island

Onset Island is located in the area of Massachusetts called Cape Cod. The 12 acre island sits in OnsetBay, off the village of Onset. Fifty plus summer cottages are now located on the island. The island was first used by the local natives as a summer camp and a place to harvest shell fish. I will discuss the history on OnsetIsland in another document.

Onset Village

Whether you call it Pine Point, Old Pine, Onkowam, Pine Neck, or Onset, OnsetVillage is rich in history. Onset really started to flourish in 1848 when trains arrived from Boston to carry industrial goods to market, and thus introducing Bostonians to Onset. Cottages were built, hotels constructed; and as the tourist population grew, the tourists arrived daily by train, sailboat, and steamers. Onset was once a major terminus for the old side wheeler steamboat ferries. The route included New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha”s Vineyard, and Nantucket. OnsetVillage was known as Pine Point, bought by the Spiritualists in the late 1800’s. It was not until they named their Association the Onset bay Grove Association that Pine Point begins to be thought of as Onset.

And please check out some of these links: