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  • Patricia Fanning

Josiah “Shout” Talbot 1785-1873

Josiah Warren “Shout” Talbot was a very interesting personality. The master of the South Dedham school in 1836, he was the son of Josiah and Mary (Richards) Talbot of Fayette, Maine, and was educated in the schools of Sharon and “various Academies.” He studied for the ministry with a clergyman in Roxbury, was ordained by the Boston Association of Universalists in 1836, preached in several towns and then settled in East Boston. 

He was married to Mary L. Bigelow, from Boxboro, Massachusetts, in 1838. She was the sister of L. W. Bigelow, the Village Hall dry goods merchant of South Dedham. 

The Talbots came to South Dedham in 1860, bought the old Lewis Rhodes farm on Centre Street (Washington Street) where he researched pomology (apple breeding). He studied varied subjects and popular sciences, such as phrenology, a theory linking personality traits to head and skull shape and characteristics. Talbot became in turn, a minister, orator, apple and grape expert, and general horticulturist. He was also a spring-bed manufacturer, and a photographer. The Norwood Historical Society’s Baker family file has a cabinet card-sized photograph marked: J. W. Talbot, Norwood, Massachusetts, Photo Studio.

Talbot was a respected teacher and minister and citizen of South Dedham. In 1872, he was chosen to present the petition for separating South Dedham from Dedham to the Massachusetts Legislature.

Talbot gained the nickname “Shout” after being struck by lightning as a child and losing his hearing in one ear. 

He died on July 26, 1873 at the age of 88.


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