Chapter Two – The Meetings Continue
Each day that Merle Rider walked to work ninety years ago from his house at 651 East 6th Street, he passed by the ornate brick building of the former Edison Electric Illuminating Company on L Street. In the mid 1880’s the company became Boston Edison, easily recognizable by the two very tall brick vent stacks that towered over the surrounding buildings. Little did Merle know that the two hundred foot stacks would later have meaning in his life.
In 1883 in St. Johns, Newfoundland, James and Susanah Roberts – both North American Indian Micmac and members of the Algonquian Tribe – were married. James was a stone mason and master bricklayer who, along with several other Micmac, had been hired by Boston Edison to build the vent stacks. James and Susanah moved to South Boston and started a family. They had six children. One child – a son named Edward – was born in the summer of 1888. As a young man, Edward was employed as a driver of a four horse freight wagon in Boston delivering furniture and custom made store display counters.
Edward was employed by a furniture maker, Louis A. Pope who immigrated to the United States with his family from England and moved into a house on Marine Road. He had eight children including a daughter named Augusta who sometimes worked in her father’s office. Edward and Augusta became friends as they saw each other frequently when Edward turned in his daily delivery sheets. The friendship turned into love and in 1915 Edward married the boss’s daughter, Augusta Pope at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on East 4th Street.
It was here, four years later at St. Matthew’s Church, that my mother’s parents, Edward and Augusta Roberts, met my father’s parents, Merle and Lillian Rider. Following that chance meeting, we continue our journey ~ Exploring Old South Boston.
to be continued…
Roy Rider is a Southie native. He is a member of the Castle Island Association and serves as a docent at Fort Independence. Roy is also a member of The Friends of Boston Harbor Islands, The Boston Harbor Alliance, and the American Lighthouse Foundation.