Earl Carter, a well-known Groton historian and passionate collector of Groton historical ephemera, passed away at home on Sunday, January 14, 2024 surrounded by his loving family and his adored pets.
Earl was born in Boston in 1939, the son of Donald Fremont Carter and Ruth Irene Carter and grew up in Malden with two siblings.
His dad was a watchmaker and a precision machinist and early in his life, Earl learned this trade. In 1972 Earl bought out the inventory of R.Y. Ferner Company, importers of precision instrumentation and fasteners. The company was the first to introduce metric fasteners in this country in the 1930s. Earl began to market his company as Metric Screw & Tool and the business continues to thrive today.
Earl’s family started coming to their Lost Lake summer camp property in 1945, after WWll. Although he moved to Chelmsford in the early 1970s, Earl always dreamed of building a home on the family property at Lost Lake. Earl and and his wife, Bonnie built a beautiful home with perfect views of the lake. They also built a large barn and garages for Earl’s collections, and sheds for their animals.
In Groton, Earl’s dad was instrumental in the reviving of the Mountain Lakes Club. When Earl moved here, he worked tirelessly to continue the Club as it was envisioned by its founders. Today, there are many families that are keeping it going with year-round events planned for the Lake area and the community. In 1988 as a member of the Groton Lakes Association, Earl purchased a weed harvester, and worked on the first drawdown of the lake in order to rid it of the weeds choking the bottom.
Earl’s passion for cars, especially hot rods, began early in his life. He was a member of the Orientals Hot Rod Club of Reading and was also a member of the Orientals Hall of Fame at the New England Dragway. Earl became well-known in hot rod circles as he completed the build of the first Model T Hot Rod in New England. This was a project he worked on all winter in order to be the first one registered for this recognition.
His love of cars continued and Earl became a founding member of New England Dragway, and served as a Director there for 47 years. He was inducted into the Ty-Rods Hall of Fame in 2007.
Groton has lost a generous, knowledgeable and supportive member of our community. Earl Carter has done so much to collect, restore, repair, preserve and protect the history of our town.
Known as The Myseum, Earl assembled an impressive collection of Groton ephemera most of which is accessible on museum software. The collection is wide ranging, new and old; simple and extravagant. Visitors to his Myseum come away impressed and awestruck by Earl’s lifelong commitment to preserving Groton history carefully.
Earl received national recognition for his meticulous restoration of a Revolutionary War cannon from British ship Diana that dates to 1774. Research on this warship and the cannon continues. His same rigor was evident on the restoration of the WWI cannon that is on display in front of Legion Hall on Hollis Street.
In early 2000 Earl climbed the 77 steps into the steeple of the First Parish Meeting House to remove the broken steel clock that had crashed. He restored and rebuilt the clock, saving all the old pieces and returned it to its steeple location. The project lasted for more than 10 years, but today you can once again hear the tower bell strike every hour.
When the historic Chicopee Row School #7 had serious issues and was in dire need of repair, Earl rebuilt the privies, the stone walls, the well, and well house of the historic school. In addition, he installed a granite post and rail fence to protect those visiting from passing traffic.
Earl also served as the Curator of Groton Historic Society from 2000 to 2004. While there, he stabilized and preserved an 1850 stagecoach for the Historic Society.
In 2012 Earl was one of three people to receive The R. W. Lewis Award for Outstanding Citizen of the year. The award is made to an individual who has advanced the community through their contributions of talent, time, and efforts.
During the annual Veterans Day Ceremony 2023, in recognition of outstanding service to the Town of Groton, Earl was presented with the retired Veteran’s flag that flew over the Veteran’s Memorial on Sawyer Common at Hollis Street during the preceding 365 days.
Earl loved his neighbors and his many, many friends and they loved him. What started out as a get together with a few friends and neighbors more than 15 years ago, grew to more than 100 members and became known as the Bored of Dikrektahs. For 10 years the Bored met at Earl’s barn every Friday night to socialize and share stories. Each year at holiday time, the Bored of Direktahs would take up a collection to contribute to the Children’s Fund under the direction of the Commissioners of Trust Funds.
A Mason, Earl was a member of the Tahattawan Lodge in Littleton. Earl also served as a member of the Naval Reserve for eight years.
Earl leaves his devoted wife of 44 years, Bonnie; his daughter Prudy Carter; sons Earl Carter Jr., and Brent Carter; 11 grandchildren; three great grandchildren; his brother Robert Carter of North Andover; and his sister Barbara Adams of Leesburg, FL.
Visiting hours will be held in the McGaffigan Family Funeral Home, 37 Main Street, (Rte. 113) Pepperell on Saturday, January 27, 2024 from 1-5 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations to the Groton Community Children’s Fund, 173 Main Street, Groton, MA 01450 to the attention of Karen Tuomi. This project was very special for Earl. Please see www.McGaffiganFuneral.com