I was reviewing some of my previous motorcycle stories and discovered that two men who were instrumental in the early motorcycle clubs of Boston lived in New Hampshire at the end of their lives. It was enough for me to claim them at least for this story. Today there are many motorcycle clubs, but few realize who were the first in Boston Massachusetts to organize motorcyclists and events. And so, without further explanation….
—Synopsis of Boston Motorcycle Club History—–
By 1902 some male bicyclists were trading in their two-wheelers for the motorized version. Riding clubs were popular, and they created clubs for this new mode of transportation. Before 1909 there were already two clubs in Boston Massachusetts–the Commonwealth Motorcycle Club** and the Massachusetts Motorcycle Club. They met to join forces and merge into one.
In 1910 the two clubs merged, and in 1911 they incorporated their club as the “Boston Motorcycle Club.” For unknown reasons, in 1913, they legally changed the club’s name to “Boston Indian Motorcycle Club.” From 1910 through 1917 the club organized a variety of events, from “runs” to hill-climbs with decent prize money for the best performers. The club frequently published the events in local newspapers.
There is a gap in mention of the club from 1917 to 1926 which would seem normal, considering World War I began in 1917 and most motorcycles were being used for the war effort, while the members went into service. The last notice I have been able to find in a hill climb event in 1926 that the club held at Quabbin Mountain, Massachusetts.
The Boston Motorcycle Club, at least in this form, seems to have faded away after 1926. Today there are many motorcycle clubs in the Boston area, but the aforementioned three groups were the first. If you use my research for an article, please credit me (really, would you have found this information otherwise?)
[The Herald, Portsmouth NH, Tuesday June 3, 1902, p. 4]
The automobile has undoubtedly taken the place of the bicycle among people of wealth and the motor bicycle seems to be gaining in popularity, but both these machines are too expensive for the average purse, and there seems to be no reason why they should supplant a bicycle among people who desire a pleasant and healthful experience, for the automobile and the motorcycle furnish practically no exercise at all.
[Boston Post, Friday, December 10, 1909, page 13]
Motor Cycle Clubs Unite. A joint meeting of the Commonwealth Motorcycle Club and the Massachusetts Motorcycle Club was held last evening at the Hotel Nottingham for the purpose of taking steps to organize a brand new organization that would give this city one big motorcycle club. The meeting was largely attended and some difficulty was encountered, both clubs being inclined to favor absorbing the other organization into their own and sticking to their name. It was at last agreed to combine the two organizations under a new name. The Boston Motorcycle Club being generally approved although not adopted at the meeting last night. The two president and the two secretaries of the organizations were then appointed to confer and present some plan of organization at the next meeting, which will be held the latter part of the month.
[Boston Sunday Post, Feb 13, 1910]
MOTORCYCLISTS. Boston Club is Planning Big Boom for Sport
Local motorcycle enthusiast are making plans to boom the sport in this section of the country during the coming year. Though the Boston Motorcycle Club, formed by a consolidation of the two former local clubs has been in existence only 10 days, its members have shown a willingness and desire to make things go ’round. Already two meetings have been held and most of the important committees have been appointed. As typical of the real motorcycle enthusiast the officers of the new club are good examples. Riders of the little “two wheelers” seem to draw together into a natural brotherhood. J.J. Fecitt, who was elected president of the club, is one of the early bicyclists. He still maintains his membership in some of his old clubs, for the last five years he has been an ardent motorcyclist. He has been riding a wheel since way back in ’69 when the first “high wheels” came out. In point of time J.P. Turner, who is one of the board of directors of the club, has Fecitt’s age beaten by 16 years. Mr. Turner rode his first race in 1860 on one of the original “bone-shakers.” This was simply two wooden wheels with iron rims and a saddle between them. The time for the mile was 10 minutes and 40 seconds. Mr. Turner afterwards became one of the large manufacturers in England, and to his shops is credited the first ball bearing high wheel in 1874 known as the “Emperor.” At the other extreme is F.M. Wyman, secretary who is but 22 years of age and Carl Anderson, lieutenant, who isn’t much older. Both of these officers have been motorcyclists for nearly five years. The youngest member of the club are Donald Pope, 15 of Brookline and N.R. Gindrah of Waltham who is 16. During the coming automobile show there will be a motorcycle day. Manager Campbell will set aside the particular date and on that day riders from all over New England will foregather to look over the models. The clubs from Worcester and Providence will attend in a body, and the local club boys are planning an entertainment of some kind to celebrate the occasion.
[Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review, v 60 Sep 25 1909-March 19, 1910 Bicycling World Co., Smithsonian Libraries, page 766]
Boston Motorcycle Clubs Finally Merge
After several meetings held for the purpose members of the Commonwealth and Massachusetts motorcycle clubs of Boston, at a meeting Friday night of last week, voted to consolidate the two clubs as the Boston Motorcycle Club. J.Fecitt was elected president, P.N. Richardson, vice-president; F.M. Wyman, secretary; S.L. Durkee treasurer; A.P. Howe, captain; W.P. Frost first lieutenant; and C.D. Anderson second lieutenant. The executive committee consists of the above named officers and Dr. Robert L. Colson and J.P. Tonner.
[The Boston Globe, Boston MA< 8 Feb 1911, page 6]
Boston Motorcycle Club Dines. The Boston Motorcycle club, which was organized one year ago, held its first annual dinner in the hotel Dreyfus last night and about 30 members attended. J.J. Fecitt was toastmaster and brief addresses pertaining to motorcycling were made by Dr. Colson, A.J. Howe, Mr. Wyman and Leroy Cook of New York.
[The Boston Globe, Boston MA, 20 April 1911, page 3]
Boston Motorcycle Club Makes a Hill-Climb A Feature
The Boston motorcycle club yesterday held its first regular run of the season. ———the course was to Worcester and return. Excellent roads and fine atmospheric conditions made the outing most enjoyable. The party reached Worcester without mishap and after dinner went to Leicester where an impromptu hill-climb was indulged in. Among the prominent operators in the run were T.W. Richardson, S.H. Smith, S.L. Durkee, Dr. R L. Colson, F.M. Wyman, C.E. Anderson, Andrew Kenney, E.M. De Long, C.E. Grout, Donald Pope, George Mackey Jr. and Capt. A.P. Howe.
[THE UNION (newspaper) Manchester NH Tuesday July 4, 1911]
-KEENE- Boston Motorcycle Club Visits City on Tour.
Special to The Union. KEENE, July 3 — Several members of the Boston Motorcycle club held a run to this city Sunday and returned in the course of the afternoon. It being one of a series of runs which they have pre-arranged during the season. Out of the seventeen members that started, eight finished and six had a perfect score.
The eight men finished in the following order: F.M. Wyman, H.F. Smith, E.W. Scheen, H.E. Keough, A.F. Howe, C.M. DeLong, J.D. Kimmond, Colson. The latter two did not complete a perfect score in the run to this city. The two men to have the best score according to their schedule were H.E. Keough and A.P. Howe. F.M. Wyman made the fastest run being the last to leave Boston and the first to arrive here being nearly 2 hours ahead of the last man to arrive.
[Boston Herald, 5 April 1913, Boston MA page 15]
Legal Notice. NOTICE OF CHANGE OF CORPORATE NAME–The undersigned officers of Boston Motorcycle Club, a corporation organized under the laws of Massachusetts, located in Boston, county of Suffolk, hereby give notice that said corporation by an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the members entitled to vote at a meeting called for the purpose and by articles of amendment asigned and sworn to by the proper officers of said corporation, duly approved by the Commissioner of Corporations, and filed in the office of the Secretary of the Common wealth, pursuant to the provisions of chapter 163 of the Acts of 108, changed its name and adopted the name of Boston Indian Motorcycle Club. ROBERT L. COLSON, president, STORRS L. DURKEE, treasurer; FRANK M. WYMAN, JOHN J. FECITT, S. ANTHONY SAVAGE, majority of directors.
[The Boston Sunday Globe 9 April 1916 page 65]
To Boom the Machines Is Desire
Of Riders and Dealers
Coming Events Scheduled — Bay State M.C. Opening, April 19 Run
The first regular motorcycle run held by a Boston Club took place April 19, 1908 when 20 of the noisy machines banged their way to Worcester and return.
[Springfield Republican Thu May 27, 1926 Springfield MA]
Cyclist Meet at Ware Draws Stars. Ware, May 26–Plans are being made to handle a crowd of at least 10,000 at the Boston Motorcycle club hill climb Monday afternoon at Little Quabbin mountain, between Greenwich and Enfield…..”
==BRIEF GENEALOGIES OF SOME BOSTON MOTORCYCLE CLUB ORGANIZERS AND OFFICERS==
John James Fecitt, son of Henry & Sarah (Monk) Fecitt, grandson of John & Elizabeth (Ashton) Monk and James & Margaret (Margerison) Fecitt/Facett was born 6 Oct 1859 at Blackburn, Lancashire, England. He married 7 Feb 1880 at Blackburn, St. Paul, Lancashire, England to Mary Betsey Cooper, daughter of Lawrence & Susana (Somer) Cooper. She was born 9 Dec 1862 in England and died 17 Aug 1914 Epping NH. A notice in the Sacred Heart Review of 15 August 1896 stated he was then President of the Roxbury [MA] Bicycle Club. He was the first president of the Boston Motorcycle Club. In 1900 the US Census show him living at 341 Freeport St., Boston MA. He died 11 Sep 1930 in Epping, Rockingham NH and is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Dorchester MA. He was a member of Washington Lodge (Masons), occupation Salesman. He was a U.S. citizen, having been naturalized on 22 Sep 1902 in Boston MA Superior Court.
1900 US Census > MA > Boston
John J. Fecitt 40 Head naturalized, groceries
Mary B. Fecitt 39 wife
John H. Fecitt 19 son
Henry M. Fecitt 15 son
Susana Henderson 58 boarder
Children of John J. & Mary B. (Cooper) Fecitt:
1. John Henderson Fecitt b 2 Sep 1880, bap 19 Sep 1880 St. Pauls, Blackburn Lancashire, England. He m. 30 Oct 1902 in Boston MA to Harriet Francis Delano.
2. Henry Monk “Harry” Fecitt, b 11 Dec 1884 Boston MA; d. 1961. Buried Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose MA
DR. ROBERT L. “DOC” COLSON
Robert Leach Colson, son of Willis A. & Mary (Leach) Colson was born 26 November 1871 in Roxbury MA, and died June 1949. He was a dentist and a member of Mt. Lebanon Masonic Lodge becoming a membership in 1909. He was the 1912 president of the Boston Motorcycle Club. He lived at 673 Washington Street in Boston MA.
Dr. Colson married on 2 Nov 1895 in Lowell MA to Margaret V. Driscoll, daughter of Mitchell & Marguerite Driscoll.
The Boston Globe Boston MA 16 June 1949, page 36
EVENING DEATH NOTICES
COLSON–In Boston, Dr. Robert W., of 673 Washington st. Funeral from the Graham Funeral Home 1770 Washington st Roxbury, Fri June 17 at 8 am. High Mass of Requiem at St Pauls Church, Dorchester at 9 am. Interment Mt. Hope Cemetery. Calling House Thu 2-5 and 7-10.
Children of Dr. Robert & Margaret V. (Driscoll) Colson:
1. Robert Willis Colson born 10 Dec 1895 Boston MA
2. Rita Louisa Colson b abt 1929 Weymouth MA, m. 18 June 1929 to Warren Theodore Gunville.
STORRS L. DURKEE
Storrs Lee Durkee, son of William H. & Kate (Mozart) Durkee, was born 15 March 1874 in Boston MA, died 18 Oct 1963. He was a member of Union Masonic Lodge, joined 8 Sep 1914. Occupation: Supt. of Permits (clerk at Boston City Hall) He married 15 June 1904 in Boston MA to Jean D. Adair, daughter of Thomas D. & Janet (Clark) Adair. She b Nov 1874 in Boston and d. Dec 1950 in Boston (15 Park Drive).
Child of Storrs L. & Jean D. (Adair) Durkee:
1. Barbara Mozart Durkee, b. 23 July 1905 Boston MA; d. 8 Dec 1997. She m. Herbert F. Hartwell. He d. 20 Jan 1965 in Windsor VT. Usual residence. Acworth NH. son of Francis & Nellie (Mowry) Hartwell. He was born in Brockton MA on 8 June 1880. They had a daughter Jean Lee Hartwell, b 6 Jan 1933 in Dover MA. She m. 10 June 1953 in Brockton MA to Robert York,
FRANK M. WYMAN
Frank Melvin Wyman was born 1 Nov 1887 in Milford MA. By 1917 he was living in Dorchester MA. He was an officer in the Boston Motorcycle Club. He married 24 May 1916 in Manhattan NY to Marion Louise. Tirrell, daughter of Edwin J. Tirrell of Melrose MA. By 1930 they were divorced. He died 15 May 1970 in San Diego, California
Children of Frank M. & Marion L. (Tirrell) Wyman:
1. Frank M. Wyman Jr. b 7 July 1917 Melrose MA. Lt. Col in US Air Force. Died in air accident in 12 September 1957 in Maryland. He married Jane White. One child, daughter Gail. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
2. Patricia Marion Wyman, was b 5 July 1919 Melrose MA, d. 2 Feb 2000. She m. — Boychock.
S. ANTHONY SAVAGE
Silas Anthony Savage was born b 17 Feb 1873 in MA, son of Andrew J. & Elizabeth A. (McDonald) Savage. He died 5 March 1944 in Santa Paula, Ventura California. In 1917 Boston City Directory, Supt Custom House, h. at W. Medford MA. He was an 1892 grad of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Occupation: Office of Inspector of Second District, Boston MA. His obituary says former employee of the Limoneira company. He m. 29 May 1895 in Chelsea MA to Florence Clifford, dau of Daniel A. & Katherine W. (Osgood) Clifford. He had Sisters; Mrs. Theresa S. Coombs (MA), Mrs. Myra S. Burpee (IL)
1920 US Census > MA > Medford
S. Anthony Savage 47 Head
FLorence C. Savage 46 wife
Elizabeth L. Savage 20 daughter
Donald C. Savage 13 son
Catherine C. Savage 8
Catherine W. Clifford 72 mother-in-law
Mary Doyle 65 servant
Amanda A. Doyle 36 servant
Children of Silas Anthony & Florence (Clifford) Savage:
1. Helen K. Savage b 10 Aug 1897 Bath Maine, d. 29 Dec 1903 Chelsea MA of diphtheria.
1. Elizabeth L. Savage b 15 Sep 1899 Chelsea MA; m. Carl Lyon; moved to Oakland California
2. Donald Clifford Savage b 2 March 1906 Washington DC d 1 May 1995 Logan Utah; m. 13 March 1944 to Iona Ruesch.
3. Katherine C. Savage, b 1911 Medford MA; m. 1 July 1933 in Manhattan NY to Russel S. Best
**Footnote on the Commonwealth Motorcycle Club. Apparently formed in January of 1908. “The Commonwealth motorcycle club has just been formed in Boston. Its officers are Arthur E. Mussey pres, Harry Childs vice pres, G.A. Ellsworth sec., E.H. Corson treas. Theo. Rothe capt, Dr. D.G. Edmonds first lieut, W. L. Potter second lieut. The officers with A.O. Peck and A.S. Whiting are the executive committee. The club starts with 55 charter members. Its objects are to promote good fellowship among motorcyclists, to increase the interest in motorcycling, promote club runs, assist to modify existing burdensome laws and the making of good roads, etc. Among the charter members are many of the most prominent old-time cyclists. The club will hold its monthly meetings at 258 Columbus av, and when the riding season opens will have regular weekly runs and additional runs as the captain may appoint.” –from The Boston Globe, Boston MA 19 Jan 1908 page 27