Turns out he was a serial shoplifter in the early 20th century. Used to “hit” Puttin on the Knitz in West Newton Square frequently. Apparently stealing yarn was a thing back in the day.
Kidding gang. Walter Brown (WB) Randlett was Newton’s first Fire Chief. Born in 1853, WB became Fire Chief near the turn of the century and helped implement a telegraph fire alarm system in Newton. Early telegraphs from Randlett read like this:
Your house is on fire (stop)
Get out (stop)
Randlett also had use of West Newton’s first Auto Car Fire Vehicle — pictured below in 1911. It’s good to be the chief.
Fun fact: Newton fire prevention dates back to the 1630’s, when fire prevention rules were first issued. By issued I mean a scroll nailed to a post in the middle of the village. The first fire wards were established in 1818 and fire stations for each village constructed shortly thereafter.