YOUR SILENT NEIGHBORS, Sterling W. Bristol, Farmer and Public Servant
by David K. Leff
Town Poet Laureate and Deputy Town Historian
A lifelong resident of Canton, Sterling W. Bristol (1887-1967) attended local schools and the New England Conservatory of Music. For many years, he operated a farm along Albany Turnpike on land that had been purchased by his father in 1886, now known as Bristol’s Farm. He was a devoted member of the Canton Center Congregational Church for over half a century and served as choirmaster for 15 years.
Bristol was a member of the town’s board of assessors for 33 years and at his death was town assessor. Between January 1945 and October 1957, he was Canton judge of probate. Bristol was an active member of several Masonic organizations, including the Village Lodge where he was Worshipful Master in 1933 and chaplain from 1936 to 1960. He was then appointed chaplain emeritus. He was also a member of the Canton Lion’s Club and Canton Volunteer Company.
Bristol had a beautiful bass voice and was in high demand for singing and theatrical performances. He sang at weddings, funerals and the Memorial Day exercises. He performed for groups as diverse as the Cawasa Grange, the Collinsville Athletic Association, the Masons, and the Ladies Aid Society. Bristol also served as local director of the Farm Bureau.
An expert marksman and deer hunter, in 1937 he supplied venison for the Lone Pine Club. He also liked to ski and in 1940 he went to a meet in Great Barrington with friends.
He was almost killed in September 1913 when he was helping S. D. Richardson cut corn. A piece of the machine they were using flew out of the engine and struck him in the chin, cutting him badly.
Funeral services were held at the Vincent Funeral Home, Reverend Evans Sealand of the Canton Center Congregational Church officiating.
Bristol was survived by his wife, Ruth Codaire Bristol, three sons, two daughters and 20 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son Sterling W. Bristol, Jr., who died in World War II, shot down over Frankfurt, Germany in 1944.
Sterling W. Bristol is buried in Dyer Cemetery, Canton.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.