Nation’s First Socialist Mayor, from Haverhill, Subject of Free Talk Wednesday

Former Haverhill Mayor John C. Chase.

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The Haverhill shoe worker and union activist who became the first socialist mayor in the United States is the subject of a free lunchtime talk Wednesday, Aug. 18, at Lawrence Heritage State Park.

Local historian Thomas Spitalere talks about John Calvin Chase, who won election as mayor of Haverhill in 1898 as a candidate of the Haverhill local of the Social Democratic Party of America.

Chase was born in 1870 in Gilmanton, N.H., and went to work in nearby woolen mills at age nine after his father died. He became a shoe worker at age 13 and joined the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union in 1888 and moved to Haverhill in 1890.

Whatever became of Mayor Chase? Spitalere tells the story at noon, at Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1 Jackson St. Attendees may bring their own lunch and dessert.

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