Rep. Birmingham urged an Aug. 8 rally of the Clemency Committee in Brighton to write letters to Gov. Alvan T. Fuller asking for clemency for the carbarn trio, the Boston Globe reported (Aug. 9, 1926, p. 1, 2). He also urged the audience to telephone and visit neighbors to write letters as well.
The carbarn trio – John J. Devereaux, John J. McLaughlin, and Edward J. Heinlein – were convicted in the murder of James H. Ferneau, a watchman on duty at the Boston and Middlesex Street Railway office in Waltham, during a 1925 robbery and were sentenced to death.
Clemency Committee Secretary Frank J. Manning told the rally that the committee had received assurance that the executions would not be carried out until after lawyers for the trio had been given an opportunity to argue the case before the state Supreme Court on Aug. 11. The executions had been scheduled for the early morning hours of Aug. 10.
“These boys are not going to the electric chair until a protest is made that will share this state,” he said.
Manning also told the crowd that the mothers of the three condemned men had left Brighton to make a personal appeal for clemency to Fuller at his summer home at Little Boar’s Head, N.H. The meeting did not change the governor’s mind, the Globe reported.
Rep. Birmingham spoke in favor of a bill to prevent the sale to minors of firearms, dangerous weapons, or ammunition.
The Public Safety Committee recommended rejection of the bill. However, the House on March 2 voted to refuse to reject the bill.
Rep. Abraham B. Cassin of Boston argued against rejecting the bill, saying that the bill merely added to the present law the provisions that it is limited to any minor who does not display a license to carry firearms.
Rep. George F. Brooks of Worcester declared that the bill would prevent a father from taking his son with him on a hunting trip.
Rep. Isadore H. Fox of Boston said that the safety of Massachusetts citizens was more important than the convenience of a father on a hunting trip.
Rep. Birmingham introduced a bill for the Metropolitan District Commission to take over and maintain three bridges over the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston—the River St Bridge, the Western Ave. Bridge, and the Larz Anderson Bridge, the Boston Globe reported Dec. 10, 1930, p. 17.
The bill would also provide for the extension of the approaches to the bridges on both sides of Charles River and including in Memorial Drive, Cambridge, and Soldiers Field Road.
Rep. Birmingham’s mother, Mrs. Mary E. Birmingham, died on Oct. 22, 1935, at her home located at 70 Hobson St., Brighton, from pneumonia, the Boston Globe reported (Oct. 23, 1935, p. 17).
Her death came just three months before Rep. Birmingham’s own death from cancer.
Surviving Mrs. Birmingham were her husband Michael J. Birmingham, sons Leo M., William H., and Raymond F., and daughters Eileen and Florence.
Funeral services were held at Our Lady of the Presentation Church in Oak Square, Brighton, and here internment was at Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline.
The state Senate voted by a razor-thin margin of 18-17 to approve congressional apportionment legislation consolidating the districts of Congressmen Robert Luce of Waltham and Frederick W. Dallinger of Cambridge, both dry Republicans, the Boston Herald reported (June 2, 1931, p. 1, 2).
Rep. Birmingham was a key member of a coalition of Democrats and dry Republicans who fought to defeat the measure, which had been reported to the Senate by a special legislative redistricting committee.
Two amendments to the bill put the cities of Lawrence and Revere into the new 7th district, which was largely represented by Congressman William P. Connery of Lynn. In the original committee report, wards 1 and 2 of Lawrence were placed in the new 6th district, while wards 3 and 4 or Revenue were included in the new 11th district.
The plan as approved by the Senate would send 11 Republicans and four Democrats to Congress, compared with 12 Republicans and four Democrats under the existing apportionment.
Senators John P. Buckley of Charlestown, Democratic minority leader, and James E. Warren of Lawrence were the only Democrats to vote for the redistricting plan.
Democrats who opposed the legislation favored an election-at-large, while Republican opponents wanted to save Luce and Dallinger from facing off in a primary challenge for the new district, with the prospect that a wet Republican would win the nomination.
The legislation as passed by the Senate would provide for a spread of around 90,000 in population between the smallest and largest districts.
The newspaper observed that the opposition of most Senate Democrats and Rep. Birmingham in the House puts Gov. Ely in a difficult position should the Senate passed bill make it to his desk.