I WAS BORN in Raynham, Massachusetts, on April 18, 1892. I was the second son in a family that ultimately numbered five boys and one girl.
All of us were born on a stony little New England farm. The focus of our early lives was the small country store that Grandfather Lincoln owned and where my father worked. In those days, the crossroads grocery store served as a meeting place, council hall, and general community center. It had no fixed closing hour. It closed when the last person had nothing more to say but "good night."
The firmest facts about Raynham., just as hard and unrelenting as the rocks which filled its ground, were that it was Protestant, Republican, and insular. The differences between Republicans and Democrats have become so softened over the years it's hard to remember that in Massachusetts in the 1890s it was almost considered sinful to be a Democrat. In Raynham it was assumed that the Democratic party was composed solely of immigrant Irish and Italian Catholics who had been brought into Boston and Fall River, and no self-respecting rural white Protestant would have anything to do with it. New England Yankees of that period were a hard-nosed lot of Protestants. I can still recall the