Abraham L Pilling of Fall River as Seen in Newspaper Articles.

I have been looking at Newpapers.com lately for articles of genealogical interest. Some people have more written about them in the newspaper than others. Abe Pilling had a lot written about him.


My 3rd great-grandmother was a Pilling. Her son was John Pilling. He had Abraham Pilling who lived in Fall River. Newspapers.com covers Fall River. This article is 02 May 1925 from the Berkshire Eagle:

Those were a lot of vetoes. Abraham had actually died in February 2nd before this veto took place. Here is an article that preceded the above from the Boston Globe on 14 April 1925:

Here is an article from the Fall River Daily Evening News from 6 September 1907:

Here is some basick information on John Pilling and his family:

Abraham was born in 1865 and was the son of John Pilling. Mary Pilling had John before she married Robert Hartley, my ancestor. Abraham was born five days after the Civil War was over.

This is probably an early mention of Abraham in the Fall River Globe on 6 May 1889:

Abraham was apparently on a sports team called the Olympics. Abraham was not afraid to get into a fight.

Here an entry from 19 July 1889:

A day later Pilling was in the paper for a quarter mile race:

More from July 23:

22 Feb 1890

7 April 1890

Sounds like an exciting game.

Now I’m curious about his trip to England as Abe’s father abandoned the family and took off to England in 1877 when Abe was only 12.

Here is one record:

This must be Abe’s return. At this time, he was a weaver:


Here is a later trip:

Here he took his wife and two children:

25 Jul 1890

31 July 1890

A report of the annual Sons of St. George Day at Rocky Point:

11 Nov 1890

James Pilling

26 October 1891

James’ obituary was posted in the Fall River Daily Evening News on 1 April 1919:


In 1891 and 1892 as Abe worked on the police force, he changed from footballer to referee.

25 Nov 1892

16 Oct 1895

The Fall River Daily Herald reported:

5 Mar 1896

15 Aug 1898

28 Jul 1899

31 Jul 1899

Perhaps Abe’s wife needed a break from the police force drama. Marion was Abe’s sister.

14 Sep 1899

Some criticism of Abe on the baseball team:

10 Apr 1900

25 Jul 1901

Abe also played quoits:

Quoits was a type of ring toss game:

15 May 1902

More problems for Abe:


5 Sep 1907

From the Fall River Daily Evening News:

9 Jul 1902

I mentioned this trip the Abe took with his family above. I’m curious as to whom he visited. His father was dead by now. It seems that I recall that my great Aunt Nellie aslo traveled to England at some point.

24 Sep 1902

Here is some more news on Abe’s trip:

The name Thomas Wilkinson is interesting. The article doesn’t mention the purpose of the visit.

21 May 1903

19 Jul 1906

I like how the paper covers the local news:

I still have a few years to go.

26 Jan 1907

15 August 1913

The next day’s paper:

4 Sep 1918

    • My guess is that at least one of Abe’s visits to England was to visit the Halliwell family.

20 Oct 1920

There are many more details. Alice’s brother Everett was an usher.

2 Nov 1920

After this time, there are few significant newspaper articles about Abe.

Here is Abe with my Hartley relatives around 1921 or 1922:

Abe is in the back row with white hair, a mustache and bow-tie.

24 June 1922

Actually, there were a few later articles that I mention at the top of this Blog. That article mentioned injuries that Pilling sustained in the line of duty. I wonder if these were part of those injuries.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Abe certainly had a difficult start in life as his father deserted his family when Abe was 12
  • Abe lived a very public life as seen through his appearances in many newspaper articles
  • Abe was apparently a very physical man charged with what today would be called police brutality. He was also fond of playing sports and traveling. Of course these were different times. He also seemed to like to drink and was accused of being intoxicated on the job, but never found guilty of the charges. However, Abe stayed with his family, so in that way was a better man than his father.




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