Marshall’s First Birthday – Burlington, Massachusetts (1909)

Marshall Skelton lived in Burlington, a small city in northeast Massachusetts.

In 1909, this area had been by-passed by the railroad and the local businesses were all related to agriculture.

(Burlington farmers cured hams for the Boston market.)

Only in the second half of the twentieth century did Burlington become another industrial center in the Boston-Nashua corridor and grow fifty-times larger than it was in 1910.,_Massachusetts

In May of 1909, Marshall had his first birthday.

To celebrate this milestone, he received a congratulatory postcard from his Sunday School.

There are two very old Congregational churches in Burlington, and Marshall may have been related to one of them.

The postcard greeting was signed by Florence Foster, the Superintendent of the “Cradle Roll”.

(Many Protestant churches maintained a “Cradle Roll” of infants or very young children who were not old enough to join the Sunday School.)

This example of Sunday School communication was printed and published by the Westminster Press of Philadelphia – a major supplier of Sunday School material for churches, especially those of the Reformed tradition.

That the postcard survived in good condition for more than a century suggests that Marshall had retained it throughout his life.

One hopes that he had an idyllic childhood among the fields and pastures of Burlington.


The Skelton family has deep roots in Burlington.

Marshall Winn Skelton was born in 1908, the son of Orray Shedd Skelton (1876-1963) and Carrie Augusta Nichols (1876-1914).

Marshall lost his mother at age six; it does not appear that his father married again.

Marshall had at least one (older) brother, Bradford Sumner Skelton, born in 1902.

Both brothers, Marshall and Bradford, died in 1947 at the ages of 39 and 45.

Both died in Massachusetts.

Their father outlived them, dying in 1963 at age 87.


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