Star Tracks: Monday, May 16, 2016 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- 'No Excuses Mom' Maria Kang Shares Unedited, 'Unapologetic' Bikini Photo After Gaining 10 Lbs.
- Read the Cover Story: Brad & Angelina Split After 12 Years: It's Over
- Dog Whose Ears Were Cut Off with Pliers Is Ready for Forever Home
- Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna and Kate Moss Make Dior the Most Star-Studded Runway Show of Paris Fashion Week
- 'Chocolate Prince!' Jacques Torres Welcomes Son Pierre – See the Adorable Photos
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- October 19, 1998
- Vol. 50
- No. 14
Two Towns Bust Each Other's Chops About the Origin of a Famed Nursery Rhyme
Who could quarrel with that? How about the people of Newport, N.H.? Just as folks in Sterling believe that a youth named John Roulstone, inspired around 1817 by the sight of the lamb following Mary Sawyer into school, dashed off the poem, so does Newport insist that Sarah Josepha Hale, a local 19th-century editor, wrote it directly from her imagination. "I think our case is so strong," says library director Andrea Thorpe, "that we don't have to disprove Sterling's claim." While everyone agrees Hale was the first to publish the poem (in 1830), Roulstone partisans say that doesn't prove authorship, gleefully pointing out that Hale included an adaptation of the Lord's Prayer in the same collection.
Whatever the truth—which may never be known—the story has long been a precious bit of family lore for Melone, 44, a nurse. "It was always part of my life," she says. As a child she and her mother would drop by for tea at the Sawyer homestead, then occupied by a cousin. One year she even dressed up in period costume, borrowed a lamb and played Mary atop a float in a town parade. "A lot of people didn't know it was a real story," she says. "They just thought it was a nursery rhyme."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!