“They want to take our good old town of Halifax for a State prison and wipe us off the map, do they? Well, we be long-standing Plymouth Rock Yankees round these parts. There’s people that have tried to drive the Yankees before, but they didn’t drive. So they can’t drive us out of here, by gum!” said Oliver Holmes, one of the oldest inhabitants of Halifax, as he raised his voice in protest against what he terms the “terrible aggression” of a syndicate of Boston real estate dealers who have offered their holdings as a site for a new State prison instead of the island of Nashawena.
In a letter which they have sent to the members of the General Court and the State Board of Prison Commissioners, this syndicate has pointed out how feasible it is to remove the residents of Halifax, who now number about 500, from their homes and how easily the beautiful Cape town may be converted into a vast state farm of over 9000 acres of rich land, situated on the shores of the two Monponsett lakes.
The news that the town had been proposed for a prison site has stirred up the inhabitants. Few approved the idea. Many opposed it. “If those convicts land here,” said George Estes, keeper of the general store, “I would get a Gatling gun, plant it on the Methodist steeple and shoot down every mother’s son of them.” A large gathering of village gossips who were in the store at the time nodded approval.
Only one man, Selectman Henry Haywood, approved of selling the town. Mr. Haywood said: “If they want to clean us off the map, let them clean away, provided they use water enough by way of compensation. By ‘water’ I mean good old greenbacks.”