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 May 2022
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to what had been his buildings to the Town of Bristol. The Town took no action to close the store or livery until 1960. The delayed closing made it possible for the Rands to raise enough money to purchase the property for their new marina. When Amos gifted his land to Bristol, it was consid- ered to have "little value." At the time Bristol secured what was called the "town lot," it was val- ued at $10,000. Today the prop- erty known as Cummings Beach is valued at close to $2,000.000. This summer and in the future, those who will enjoy the swim- ming, the sunbathing, and the striking view of the lake and its embracing mountains from the perspective of the beachfront park will surely say that our Man of Honor's West Shore legacy is priceless.
I would like to thank Lucille Keegan of the Bristol Historical Society and the Boscawen His- torical Society members for their invaluable help in writing "The Gypsy and the Man of Honor."
Russell played a surprising card in his response, taking advantage of the insight.
"Gaylord, I will not lease or rent the store to Olan and Mil- lie. Over the years, they have become family. Therefore, they will operate the store and livery without paying me a cent."
Russell took time to under- score his concern for the Rands and his respect for the hard work they had undertaken for a decade and a half. He spoke of their spartan living conditions, no heat or air conditioning, no running water (a hand pump to lift water from a dug well), a one-burner gas stove, an icebox, a chemical toilet in the cellar. Russell admit- ted some embarrassment that lack of capital, as well as an un- certainty about the legality of his ownership, had discouraged him from investing in improvements. Russell concluded what had al- most become a soliloquy by em- phasizing the hope that Olan and Millie would be able to continue to run the facilities so that they could raise money to build their own store and livery on the lake.
Russell did not miss the opportu- nity to remind Gaylord that such a facility would be a mecca for tourism and, in the long run, add to Bristol's coffers.
After Russell's remarks, the two men sat in silence. The re- marks had been conveyed with feeling and sincerity. They had been received thoughtfully. Both men knew the plight of working people. They had lived through the Great Depression. They had taken on the responsibility of overseeing the Welfare programs in their respective communities. Finally, Gaylord left the meeting, sharing a handshake with Rus- sell and commenting that he had more to think about and to share with the other selectmen.
There are no archival docu- ments specifying an agreement between the Selectmen and Russell Mattice. However, the store and livery continued in op- eration, run by Olan and Millie Rand, through the summer of 1959. We know as well that the Town Meeting in 1955 autho- rized the selectmen "to make such compromises involving the
town lot on Newfound Lake con- sidered to be in the best interest of the town." Mattice's store remained standing until 1961. By that time, it had become an abandoned building. The Bris- tol Enterprise, with little regret, reported its destruction in Au- gust of that year. "The buildings just torn down on the Town lot were in poor condition, not good structures deserving to be saved. Their removal constitutes an im- provement.”
In 1964, I traveled to New- found Lake to work at Rand's Marina. Millie and Olan had been financially able to buy beachfront property and cot- tages a quarter of a mile north of what had been Mattice's store. They were now operating their own marina and living in a large, well-provided cottage. Today the West Shore Marine docks stand where Rand's Marina once se- cured its rental boats. I stayed with Uncle Olan and Aunt Millie that summer, and it was then that I learned of the details of the meetings between the Gypsy of Newfound Lake and The Man
of Honor.
As I reflect on this story, I
am struck by the coincidence that this acre and a half of West Shore property was transferred in a way that illustrated the kind of reconciliation about which the 19th-century Baptist minister, Amos Brown, preached. Pastor Amos was the man who gifted Bristol the deed to what would become Cummings Beach. That property transfer was made in 1849. Bristol paid little attention to that bequest during the follow- ing century. It was said of Amos that he had "a heart that was quick to respond to the joys and sorrows of others." One of Pas- tor Amos's favorite Biblical pas- sages was from Paul's letter to the Corinthians, "We live under the administration of grace, not law." The spirit of that grace was evi- dent in the apparent agreement consummated by Russell Mattice and Gaylord Cummings.
Shortly after the conclusion of the meetings between Russell Mattice and Gaylord Cummings, Russell officially transferred title
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