PERU — Town meeting day, here Monday, will be a decided contrast to the days when "Mayor" Frank G. Creamer, now of Pittsfield, was at the helm. Because of ill health, the "mayor" has been forced gradually to relinquish his grasp on the Peru political machinery and on Monday he gives up his last office, that of assessor, the only office that he held the past year. Mrs. Creamer plans to return to vote Monday. It is doubtful if the "mayor" will make the trip.

No doubt the rafters of the old town hall will ring with eloquence and there may be conflicts of opinion but the colorful figure of the mayor will dominate no more and with his passing, Peru will lose one of the most outstanding figures of Berkshire small town history. The "mayor" is always good for a story on any situation concerning Peru. During the past quarter century, he has been instrumental in putting his town on the front page of newspapers more times than perhaps can be the boast of any other town in New England.

The "mayor's" retirement has come because of ill health. The past two years Mr. and Mrs. Creamer have been making their home at 1630 North St., Pittsfield, and gradually Mr. Creamer has been regaining his strength. But his health will not permit him to engage in the rough and tumble fights that have featured Peru's politics for the past 25 years.

Mr. Creamer was just about absolute dictator of the town for more than 30 years. He held 13 offices from which he received a total of $65 in salaries during this time. He was moderator of the town meetings, town clerk, tax collector, treasurer, selectman, assessor, road superintendent, pound keeper, fence viewer, constable, tree warden, fire warden, measurer of wood and lumber. Mr. Creamer was postmaster for many years until he was succeeded by Mrs. Creamer and she also served as library trustee and member of the school committee.

For 40 years, Mr. Creamer was proprietor of the country store on the Pinnacle. He never paid out a cent for clerical hire, for in his absence, Mrs. Creamer or his two daughters, Frances, now a student in Pittsfield High School, or Hazel, now an instructor in the Hartford (Conn.) high school, would wait on customers. There are country stores and country stores, but there was never one just like Mr. Creamer's. 

The place of business was more like a curiosity shop. It was Mr. Creamer's proud declaration on many occasions, that his store contained anything that a customer desired. Everything from pins and needles to a mahogany pulpit could be bought there.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.