Epic Election

Battles Of History

Duffy vs Johnbson Epic Election Battles of History Patricia Jacques

  • Spoils of War: Mayoral seat
  • Incumbent: Thomas P. Duffy, 265 Main Street
  • Challenger: Harold H. Johnson, 4 Arlington Rd, Woburn
  • Territory: Woburn, Massachusetts
  • Election Dual: December 13, 1927
  • Weapon Arsenal: Election campaign advertisement
  • Publication: Daily Times newspaper

BEGIN!

On Chlorinated Water

Harold Johnson Portrait Duffy vs Johnbson Epic Election Battles of History Patricia Jacques

“Experience has shown that in previous campaigns of the present mayor, statements would appear over his signature that were wholly at variance with the facts, as for example, when he told you a year ago, that we were drinking pure water as the result of the operation of the Layne pump.

The fact was that the pump was not in operation and we were drinking chlorinated water. The fact is that we are still drinking chlorinated water.” Dec 5, 1927.

Thomas H.Duffy Portrait Portrait Duffy vs Johnbson Epic Election Battles of History Patricia Jacques

“[…]Citizens of Woburn […]. I invite you to look about you and I will rest my case with your common sense.[…] I contracted for the installation of one Layne pumping unit and feel very satisfied with results attained.

The pump is producing approximately one million gallons of water per day and its purity has been accepted and approved by the State Board of Health. NOT one bit of chlorine is used in this supply.” Dec 6, 1927.

Harold Johnson Portrait Duffy vs Johnbson Epic Election Battles of History Patricia Jacques

“Chlorinated water IS used in the water supply, Mayor Duffy says so. In 1916, we were drinking pure water from artesian wells. ” Now drinking clear and pure water.” Three days ago he published the statement ” that not one bit of chlorine water is used in this supply.” Now he agrees with me. There was no chance to explain away the unpaid bills for chlorine.” Dec 9, 1927.

Thomas H.Duffy Portrait Portrait Duffy vs Johnbson Epic Election Battles of History Patricia Jacques

“So many evasion of the truth have been engaged in by my opponent during the past two days that I feel obliged, much as I regret it, to tear the mask of sanctity from the brow that his fellow citizens have honored and reveal him in his true light. […] You are the ones he is attempting to mislead. It is your confidence that he is seeking to gain. Let it be on his answers that you determine whether his record entitles him to your vote.” Dec 7, 1927.

Thomas H.Duffy Portrait Portrait Duffy vs Johnbson Epic Election Battles of History Patricia Jacques

Harold P. Johnson is the man responsible for the use of chlorine in the city drinking water.  Over his own signature, in statements published this week, he admitted that during his “business administration,” he caused the huge drain to the build from the center of the city to Horn Pond which empties all the filth of the streets directly into Horn pond. Enough germs pour forth with the city street filth, at Beacon street to ruin any water supply.” Dec 8, 2020.

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REFERENCE | SOURCES

“Mayoral Election Campaign Advertisements, ” Family History Collection [FAM 47 – Box 38] 1927, Glennon Archives, Woburn Public Library

IMAGE CREDITS

  • Portraits from “Mayoral Election Campaign Advertisements, ” Family History Collection [FAM 47 – Box 38] 1927, Daily Times, Glennon Archives, Woburn Public Library.
  • Digital Graphics by Patricia Jacques