Honoring Howard C. Tinkham

To the Editor:

Mattapoisett’s community of sharing dates from the time it was a village in the Rochester Township. Legends abound of residents who have shared in the town’s ordinary everyday experiences, its meaningful experiences and in its world of nature.

Howard C. Tinkham has shared as much in Mattapoisett’s experiences as any current resident. Now nearing 91-years-old, he has been part of the community since the turn of the 20th century. And his memories of the community and his gamily date from the time his family settled in Mattapoisett, just after the King Phillips War. Today he can cite the town characters whose travel was by horse and buggy. He relates to when the community acquired the new resources of electricity and the telephone; and when its sources of income were boat building, forestry and agriculture.

Howard C. Tinkham, during his lifetime, has played a large role in the community of Mattapoisett.  In his youth, he and his gamily harvested timber, ran a sawmill, raised vegetable crops and built a cranberry bog. During the 1960’s, Howard served on the Finance Committee and on the Planning Board. In 2008, Howard donated the land with rights of way that now comprise the Mattapoisett River Valley Treatment Plant. Earlier, he granted the use of land to the Boy Scout Troop #53 for what is known as “Camp Tinkham.” He has been a steward of the lands and water resources in the Mattapoisett Village area known at Tinkham Town. In 2008, he received citations from the Governor, the State Legislature and the Board of Selectmen for his contributions to the Water District and his stewardship of the land.

Each year since 1949, Howard has overseen the activities of the Tinkham Town Chapel, the Tinkham Town Helping Hand Society Meeting House and the Ellis Cemetery. Annually, he has stocked the wood fire stove, lit the kerosene lamps, maintained the foot pump organ and seen to the maintenance of the two buildings, all for the use of the community.

These days, he still checks up on the Water Department and the Highway Department, keeps the Chapel and Meeting House going and manages to mow his hayfield, produce a garden of asparagus, beans, cabbage, squash and tomatoes. In addition, he continues to monitor the operation of a 3-acre cranberry bog.

It would be fitting if a lifetime of service award were created to be given in the name of Howard C. Tinkham.

Edward J. Sylvia


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