The City of Malden rolled out the red carpet for 60 descendants of the Converse Family over a three-day weekend last month. The events were organized and hosted by C. Henry Kezer, the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation, the Trustees of the Malden Public Library, Library Director Dora St. Martin and Converse Reunion Steering Committee. Several activities were planned to showcase to Converse family descendants the many gifts bestowed to Malden by their ancestors.
Fittingly, the opening reception was held on Friday, June 24 at the Converse Memorial Library, which was designed by noted American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The building was a gift of Elisha and Mary Converse in the memory of their son, Frank Converse, who was murdered in 1863 at the Malden Bank – he was the first person killed in a bank robbery in this country. Elisha Converse was also the first Mayor of Malden, Founder and President of the Boston Rubber Shoe Company, a representative and senator in the state legislature and a philanthropist. Mayor Gary Christenson opened the weekend by welcoming family members and spoke about the generosity of the Converse Family. Family members toured the gallery and enjoyed refreshments and lectures about the family.
The following day attendees visited family graves at Woodlawn Cemetery and then enjoyed a picnic at historic Fellsmere Park. On Saturday evening family members enjoyed a barbeque at Pine Banks Park. The weekend wrapped up on Sunday with a memorial service at First Baptist Church.
“I am grateful to all who participated in the organization of this reunion,” said Mayor Christenson. “I want to particularly thank Henry Kezer and the Bayrd Foundation for generously funding the effort and Library Director Dora St. Martin and the Historical Society for their hard work in ensuring the success of this memorable weekend.”