Wednesday, September 21, 2016

U. S. Navy to Name Ship USNS Lucy Stone

An article posted 20 September 1916 on Worcester gives information about, and local reaction to the news that the U.S. Navy will name a fleet replenishment oiler in honor of 19 century West Brookfield native Lucy Stone.  Lucy was active in both the Women's Suffrage, and the Abolitionist movements.
My previous post about Lucy may be found here.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

BackRoads Studio Tour Set for October 1st and 2nd

See the September 9th edition of the Quaboag Current for details on this years' Backroads Studio Tour where 15 local artists and artisans open their studios and workshops with demonstrations and displays.  This is a self guided tour through six scenic New England towns.  Make it a weekend get-away, and visit Old Sturbridge Village, or some of the local historical sites.
The link to the Current article is

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nathan B. Ellis : Transcription of an 1819 Will from Brookfield, Massachusetts

   Nathan B. Ellis came to Brookfield from East Medway, Massachusetts, probably about 1788.  He was a clothier in West Brookfield, and was, for a time in business with his brother Asa Ellis, Jr., and afterward, with his brother Shepard Ellis.  Those partnerships were dissolved and Nathan continued the business on his own.  Nathan B. Ellis & Co. was known for having developed a method of coloring cloth a scarlet color, said to be as nice any imported scarlet cloth available at the time.
   The 1891 marriage of Nathan and his wife Thankfull (Barrett) is found in the records of Brookfield, as are the births of their nine children. His name appears on the 1798 tax rolls in Brookfield as the owner of a single story wooden dwelling on an acre of land valued at $250. The house was 1065 square feet in area, with 11 windows containing 74 square feet of glass.
   Nathan died September 6 , 1819 at age 55 after what was said to have been a long and painful illness. My transcription of his will is below.

Will of Nathan B. Ellis of Brookfield, Massachusetts

Worcester Coumty Probate Case No. 19037
Will signed and dated 6 April 1819
Filed 27 September 1819, Proved and approved 26 October 1819
Recorded in Volume 52 page 134
Decree Volume 52 page 137
I Nathan B. Ellis of Brookfield in the County of Worcester in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Yeoman. Being though infirm in health, of Sound desposion mind + memory do make this my last Will and Testament.

I commit my Soul to GOD its devine aurther in the humble hope of happiness in a future state of existance, my Body I commit to the care of my Executors herein after named, to be decently buried according to their desention. Respecting my Worldly Estate I give and bequeath and devise the same in the following manner

First. I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Thankfull Ellis one half of my dwelling House one third of my Barn one half of my Land that lieth in Brookfield meaning the home lot. also eight + fouth acres of land encluding the orchard that is on the Wheeler place so called and to take so much land off the north side of said Orchard and to be bounded on the NewCounty road leading from Western to Hardwick + from thence to land now improved by Bill Wheeler as shall make the said eight + one fourth acres also eight acres of my Wood lot off of the north end of my land on the Wheeler Farm so called, The use possession + Improvement the full term of her natural Life I also give to my wife one half of my old home, two cows, four ewe sheep, two lambs, one barrow hog one half of my small waggon, one half of my small sleigh, Harness, two b[????], two of my best beds, bedding bedsted bords, with the adition of two pair of the best sheets she has a righ to select them for herself, also all my tables, excepting the new cherry table, also my best brass kettle, together with all my furness ware, all my Shourt tongues handirons cranes + hooks, twelve of the best of my chairs, one cheese tub, meet tub, wash tubs, four sider barrels one large silver spoon + all my silver tea spoons + one warming pan one churn, two spiningwheels, one half of my puter crocory glass +ware, two looking glasses, all my brown earthan ware, one loom all apperatus belonging to the same, all my table linen, towels one case of drawer, two chests with leads, also all the accounts due me on my old ledger, my best bible + one third part of the remainder of my books. I also give to my wife full power to use and desp of the above mention personal estate as she shall think proper
[2nd page]
I also give to my wife the use and improvment of one half of Pew in the meeting House and one half of my horse shed by the meeting House during her natural life.
Secondly I give to my daughter Elsabeth Ellis, the third best best bed bedding bedstead + cord compleat for one bed, one new cherry table also one hundred + eighty dollars
Thirdly. I give to my dughter Mary Ellis the fourth best bed beding bedsted + cord compleat for one bed. + one hundred and eighty five dollars
Fourthly. I give to my daughter Caroline Ellis, the fifth best bed bedding + cord compleat for one bed. and one hundred + eighty eight dollars.
Fifthly. I give to my daughter Lucy Barrett Ellis, the sixth best bed beding bedstead + cord compleat for one bed and one hundred ninety dollars.
Sixthly. I give to my daghter Susannah Ellis, the seventh best bed beding bedsted + cord compeat for one bed + one hundred ninety dollars.
The afore said sums of Money is to be paid to each of my daughters before named when either of them shall arive at the age of twentyone years or at the time of their marriage the same to be on interest from that perriod respectfully which shall first happen untill the principal shall be paid
Seventhly I give to my son Baxter Ellis ten acres of pasture + woodland lying north + adjoining his Wheeler' pasture so called. also one third part of my farming utenseals, + one fourth part of Pew in the meeting house + one other fourth pew at the decese of his mother
Eighthly I give to my son Calvin Ellis one hundred dollars to be paid to him as follows vis forty dollars of the above sum to
[3rd page]
to be paid to him within thirty days from my deceise and seven dollars + fifty cents to be paid to him anully untill untill the remainder of the said one hundred dollars is paid also when the said Calvin shall arrive at the age of twentsix years he is to be paid two hundred dollars if his mother should be deceise if not deceise he is not to have it untill her deceise
Ninthly. I give to my son Gaius Ellis all the residue of my real estate. What is not heretofore desposed of excepting + receseing[?] the pasture + wood land that I purchased of Linas Banister also one fourth part of my pew in the meeting house and the other fourth part of said pew at the deceis of his mother also all moneys due me by notes + what is due me in accounts on the company ledger also all the residue of my personal estate excepting what is not hereto fore desposed of. on the following conditions (viz) he the said Guias is to pay the legases hereitofor m__ti [mentioned] my just debts [________] excepting the debt due toThomas Witts decees heirs
-also I give the said Gauius all my real estate + that I have willed to his mother after her deecise providing he pays each of my daughters twenty dollars within one year after her decees also he is to pay Baxter Ellis one hundred dollars within one year after the decees of his mother, I also give unto my sons Baxter +Guias Ellis the pasture + woodland that I purchaced of Linus Banister and they the said Baxter Guias are to pay to the heirs of Thomas Witt decese what I am indebted to them for the said land they are to share in the profets and loss if their should any in the sail of said land, I hereby aurthorise and impower my son Baxter and Guias Ellis at their descretion to sell grant convey the said real estate last described to make seal execute acknowledge and deliver such Deed for the purpose of paying the last mention debt as fully and affectually to all entents and purposes as I myself may or can do it while in full Life. And
[4th page]
And I do hereby constitute and appoint my sons Baxter Ellis + Guias Ellis sole Executors of this my last will and Testament, or the Survivor of them, or in case either of them shall refuse to accept the trust or Shall become incapable to execute the same, the one who shall so execep or remain capable.
And I do revoke and disannul all my former wills + Testaments ratify confirm this to be my last will and Testament, In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this sixth day of April in the year of our LOD one thousand eight hundred + nineteen
Signed Sealed published pronounced + declared by the said Nathan B. Ellis to be his last Will and Testament in presence of the subscribers, who in his presence at [words in crease not legible] presence of each other hereunto affix our names as witnesses. Nathan B. Ellsi [signature]

John Ross [signature]
Matthew Wood [signature]
Uriel Spooner [signature]

Sources: Boston Recorder, Boston, Massachusetts, online digital image, 27 November 1819; Death notice for Nathan B. Ellis, Genealogy Bank ( accessed 28 June2016.
             Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax. Online database. : accessed 28 June 2016), New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003.) Original manuscript: Direct tax list of 1798 for Massachusetts and Maine, 1798. Nathan B. Ellis, Brookfield, Massachusetts; R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA.
            Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850; Online Database: Brookfield marriage record of Nathan B. Ellis and Thankfull Barrett; :accessed 28 June 2016,) New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016).
            Worcester County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1731-1881. Probate Case No. 19037 for Nathan B. Ellis; Online database. American Ancestors  (  accessed 28 June 2016,) New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gauis Ellis Letter to the Probate Court Judge Questioning the Action of the Executor of the Baxter Ellis Estate

Letter found in Baxter Ellis Probate File - Case No. 19003, Worcester County, Massachusetts
The will of Baxter Ellis of West Brookfield, Massachusetts was approved 4 December 1866, but settlement of his estate could not be completed until after the death of his widow, Lucy in March of 1887 (some 22 years later.) Baxter Ellis' 91 year old brother Gauis, who lived in Neenah, Wisconsin, wrote a letter to the court in Worcester, Massachusetts, regarding the disposition of the assets of the Baxter Ellis estate, the terms of the will, and Baxter's intentions at the time the will was written. I found nothing more of this matter in the probate packet, but the final settlement of the estate occurred in October of 1887.

The letter handwritten in a shaky script and under the printed letter head of "GAIUS ELLIS, REAL ESTATE AGENT, NEENAH, WIS. reads as follows:
"Neenah Sept 27 /87

Judge Thayer Sir I have rec'd a notice to appear at your court on the first tuesday in Oct about my brother (Baxter Ellis) will

As I have been informed by Dwight Ellis (the executor) that there was after the first enstolment was settled he left for the use of his wife 4700 dollars to be devided among his heirs. One half to sister Lucy B. Ellis + Susan Fitts equally between them or their heirs and the remainder to his other heirs.
[2nd page]

Mrs. Elizabeth Lincoln (D. Ellis sister) sent me a letter feby. 14/82 saying it was as D. E. had stated. Now I don't want a difficulty about the matter but I want it settled right and I will acquiesce
Mr W. E. Lincoln (acting as the executor for my Bros Estate) Sent me a letter saying I must sign a receipt of $ 500, + send it to the Warren Savings Bank Warren Mass and they will send you $500 - I did so + got the $500, dollars. Now they say there is a mistake.
I do believe my Bro meant I should have that, or more,

[3rd page]
Now of the believes that this was my brothers will that one half goes to sisters LB. E. + S.F. and the residue to his other heirs, then I have not enough But they want I should send back 117$ and I will do it if it is right. But out of $4700 they take a goodeal to settle the estate
If I have troubled you out of reason please remit your bill and I will settle it
Gaius Ellis
It is too far for me to be present to attend Court G.E.
Excuse all mistakes I am 91 1/2 years old.
Source "Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925," images, FamilySearch ( : 16 May 2014), Worcester > Case no 19003, Elllis, Baxter, > image 317 - 319 of 1094; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

Three previous posts about this Probate File

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Will of Baxter Ellis of West Brookfield, Massachusetts
Probate Case No. 19003

    Filed 7 November 1888 and Approved 4 December 1866

[Formatting is not an exact copy and there were some notes in the margin which are not included. LLS]
                   In the name of God Amen,
                        I Baxter Ellis of West Brookfield in the county of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainty of the mortal life, do make and publish and declare this my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following, that is  to say ____________________
First                First I give and bequeath to my beloved wife and her   heirs the sum of three thousand dollars --- Also my Household Furniture, wearing apparel, family stores, and Library       
Second            I give and bequeath to the Trustees of Phillips Academy at Andover Massachusetts the sum of Five Hundred dollars for the purpose of founding a scholarship (in part) in the Theological Seminary under their care, the income of this endowment only to be expended for the support of needy students in said Seminary from year to year
Third              I give and bequeath to the American Board of Commisioners for Foreign Missions, the sum of Five Hundred dollars
Fourth            I give and bequeath to the Massachusetts Home Missionary Society the sum of Five Hundred dollars.____________
Fifth               I give and bequeath to the American Peace Society the sum of one Hundred dollars ______________
Sixth              I give and bequeath to the American Bible Society the sum of One Hundred dollars.
Seventh          I give and bequeath to the American Tract Society instituted in the city of Boston the sum of One Hundred Dollars.
Eighth            I give and bequeath to my brother Gauis Ellis and his heirs the sum of Five Hundred dollars.____________________________________________
[2nd page]
Ninth              I give and bequeath to my nephew Calvin H. Hayward and his heirs the sum of Two Hundred dollars
Tenth             I give and bequeath to my niece Susan E. Jones and her heirs the sum of Fifty Dollars.
                                                  The aforesaid Calvin H. Hayward and Susan E. Jones being children of my deceased sister, Mary Hayward
Eleventh        I give and bequeath to my nephew R. Gordon Ellis and his heirs the sum of one Hundred dollars and my niece Julia Ellis and her heirs, the sum of Fifty dollars - (children of my deceased brother Calvin Ellis)
Twelfth         I give and bequeath to my sister Caroline Adams wife of Sidney Adams, and her three children the sum of twenty dollars to be equally divided between  them Vis. Five dollars to each
 Thirteenth      I give and bequeath to my sister Lucy B. Ellis, wife of Abijah Ellis, and her heirs the sum of Two Hundred Dollars - And to her four daughters and their  heirs to wit: Susan Allen, Frances Ellis, Mary Ellis, and Caroline Ellis the sum of Twenty five dollars each - In case of the death of either of said four daughters, previous to my decease, the legacy hereby bequeathed to such person to be equally divided among the survivors of said four daughters
Fourteenth    I give and bequeath to my sister, Susan Fitts the wife of Samuel Fitts, and her heirs the sum of Two Hundred dollars And to her two sons (by a former husband,) Edwin Upham and Lyman Baxter Upham and their heirs the sum of Two Hundred dollars each
[3rd page]
                         And to the four daughters of my said sister Susan Fitts, to wit, Caroline Hayward, Maria Upham, Elizabeth Upham, and Adaline Upham the sum of twenty five dollars each In case of the death of either of said four daughters previous to my decease, the legacy to such deceased person to be equally divided among the surviving sisters.               
Fifteenth      I hereby give and bequeath to my nephew Joseph I. F Ellis and my niece Mary Shumway and their heirs (children of my brother Gaius Elllis) the sum of One Hundred dollars each
Sixteenth     I give and bequeath to Curtis Ellis (son of my nephew Nathan B. Ellis deceased) and his heirs the sum of One Hundred dollars
Seventeenth   I hereby authorize and empower my Executors herein after named to sell and dispose of any and all my real and personal estate at such time and in such manner as the may deem proper.
Eighteenth  After the payment of my just debts, funeral charges and procuring a suitable pair of grave stones and the payment of the aforesaid legacies I hereby give, bequeath and devise the use improvement rents profits and income of all my estate both real and personal, which shall remain, to my said wife Lucy Ellis, to hold for
and during the full term of her natural life and at the decease of my aforesaid wife I hereby order and direct that of the residue and remainder of my estate then remaining one half part thereof shall be paid to my sisters Lucy B. Ellis and Susan Fitts and their heirs equally to be divided
[page 4]
between them and the other half part thereof I hereby give bequeath and devise to my legal heirs -
                                    And I do hereby appoint my said wife Lucy Ellis and my cousin Dwight Ellis to be joint executors of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking annulling and declaring void all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made
                                    In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this eighth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty- four. 

The words 'and his heirs" "and her heirs" "each" = "them" being interlined before signing.                          Baxter Ellis [signature]
                Signed published and declared by said Baxter Ellis as his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who in his presence and in the presence of each other  have hereunto set our names as witnesses
                                                  [Illegible] Blair
                                                  H. B Bosworth
                                               xJos F. Hitchcock 


Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1881, images, FamilySearch (,1073166901 : accessed 02 Jun 2014), Worcester > Case no 18981-19051, Elliot, Joseph-Elllis, Smith, 1731-1881 > image 331 of 1094, probate file of Baxter Ellis; citing Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Next of Kin and Heirs -at- Law of Baxter Ellis

Baxter Ellis, son of Nathan B. Ellis and Thankful (Barrett), died in West Brookfield in 1866 leaving a will and a sizable estate. He left a will in which there were bequests to a number of charities, and also to his widow , Lucy (Upham) and other family members. Below is a transcription of the page in his probate file which identifies his next of kin and heirs-at-law according to the statutes at the time.
(Minors must be so designated, and the names of their Guardians given, if they have any. If any party is a married woman, her husband's name must be given. The heirs-at-law and next of kin may be determined by reference to Chap. 91 an 94 of the General Statutes)

To the Honorable the Judge of Probate Court in and for the County of Worcester:

RESPECTFULLY represents Dwight Ellis of Warren in the county of Worcester and Lucy Ellis of West Brookfield in the County of Worcester that Baxter Ellis who last dwelt in West Brookfield in said County of Worcester, died on the Eighth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty - six possessed of goods and estate remaining to be administered, leaving a widow, whose name is Lucy Ellis the subscriber and as his only heirs-at-law and next of kin, the persons whose names, residences, and relationship to the deceased are as follows, viz:-

Gauis Ellis a brother residing in Racine Wis.

Lucy B. Ellis a Sister     "         " Boston Mass

Calvin Hayward a Nephew " " New York N. Y.

Susan E Jones a Niece   "     " Albany, N.Y.

R Gerdon Ellis a Nephew " " Cincinnatti O.

Julia Ellis a Niece            " " do ___ do

Caroline Adams a Niece " " West Brookfield Mass

Ephraim Adams a Nephew "     do do

Nathan Adams a Nephew "    " do do

[These last 9 names below are followed by a vertical wavy line on the right side with Wisconsin written to the right]

Edwin Upham " Nephew

Lyman Baxter Upham " Nephew

Caroline Hayward " Niece

Maria Upham " Niece

Elizabeth Upham " Niece

Adaline Upham " Niece

Joseph J. F Elis" Nephew

Mary Shumway" Niece

Curtis Ellis " Son of a Nephew


"Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925," images, FamilySearch ( : 16 May 2014), Worcester > Case no 18981-19051, Elliot, Joseph-Elllis, Smith, 1731-1881 > image 326 of 1094; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I Monument

 West Brookfield, MA War Monument
   The sum of $3,500 was appropriated at the town meeting in the spring of 1920, and this three- sided granite monument, was erected on the town common later that year. Three brass plaques bearing the names of the war veterans were added in March of 1921. A dedication ceremony was held on Memorial Day, May 30, 1921, in remembrance of the service of West Brookfield men who had served in the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and the World War.

West Brookfield War Monument
Photo taken 2 April 2015 by Leah Smith

 1861  The Civil War  1865
Julius A. Amsden                                              Joseph W. Cutler
William L. Adams                                             Ephraim C. Carey
Leonard E. Alexander                                      Charles E. Cutler
Joseph P. Adams                                               Lorenzo Chickering
George E. Adams                                              Eli W. Combs
John E. Adams                                                  Abijah D. Cutler
Elbridge B. Ainsworth                                     William T. Cutler
Charles H. Allen                                               Edwin W. Crane
Joseph W. Allen                                                Jacob Combs
Milton R. Allen                                                 Daniel H. Chamberlain
Waldo S. Allen                                                  Anthony Colburn
Benjamin F. Armitage                                     Pliny Cooper
George Abbott                                                  James Collins
Jabez A. Blackmer                                           James Coughlin
Henry E. Bullard                                             Leander T. Chamberlain
Daniel Buckley                                                 Amos Dean
Lyman Bliss                                                      William Daggett
Edwin T. Brown                                               James Dempsey
Carlos P. Buck                                                  Emerson Dane
Joseph H. Bartlett                                            Ralph O. Dupee 
Azor W. Barlow                                               Patrick G. Dillon 
Edwin W. Barlow                                             Joseph Dailey
Sylvanus T. Barlow                                          John Dillon
Daniel Boyle                                                      James Dillon
Pliny E. Barr                                                     Hiram Eaton
Horace W. Bush                                                Orrin Eddy
William H. Barnes                                            Andrew H. Emery
D. Wilson Barlow                                              Franklin W. Fellows
Joseph E. Bailey                                                John E. Farley
Samuel F. Beach                                               John F. Fobes
Lewis Boria                                                       Lyman W. Gilbert
Rufus E. Blackmer                                           Martin J. Gilbert
Albert Barnes                                                   George H. Gilbert
Jabez Blackmer Jr.                                           Harvey Gilbert
Emerson H. Bullard                                          Hermon J. Gilbert
L. B. Bliss                                                           Barnard R. Gilbert
                                     Alfred W. Gilbert
John F. Hastings                                               Augustus N. Potter
David W. R. Hinckley                                      John J. Powers
William A. Hitchcock                                       James M. Pratt
Adam Howe                                                       Edward W. Prouty
George E. Howe                                                Henry C. Reed
William P. Howe                                               Moses Renon
Amos F. Jackson                                               Jefferson H. Richards 
James Jess                                                         Samuel D. Richards
Isaac N. Jones                                                   Calvin H. Root
Michael Joyce                                                   Henry L. Ross
Charles L. Lamberton                                     Benjamin F. Sampson
Henry C. Lamberton                                       Isaac M. Sampson
Daniel Lawler                                                   Perez Sampson
William G. Lawrence                                       Ira T. Sibley
William Leonard                                              George W. Shaw Jr.
Albert W. Livermore                                       Dennis Smith
Charles H. Livermore                                      Daniel C. Spear
William H. Lombard                                       William A. Sprague
Ezra P. Lovering                                              George W. Temple
Seth L. Lowe                                                     William R. Thomas
Albert Lynde                                                     Charles E. Thompson
Masial Mallett                                                   Harvey Truesdell
John Mann                                                        Lucius Truesdell
Charles W. Marsh                                            Edwin M. Tucker
George L. Marsh                                              Eli Tyler Jr.
John Martell                                                     Frederick A. Varnum
Morris Mathews                                               John M. Ward
John McClusky                                                 Alfred D. Washburn
Lewis M. McCrellis                                           Charles K. Watson
Daniel Mullen                                                    Justus C. Wellington
William A. Mullet                                             George H. Wellman
James Mundell                                                  Abner Wolcott
John Mundell                                                     Erastus W. Woods
John Myles                                                         Oliver Woodbridge
                                  Ebin Woodbury
Appears just above the names of the World War I Veterans
                               1917   The World War  1919
Hugh A. Allen                                                    Louis Larose
John H. Anderson                                             William J. Long
George H. Anderson                                         Elverton L. Mara
Arthur H. Brigham                                           Francis S. P. Matthews
Ralph S. Clark                                                  William F. Mulvey   
Robert D. Converse                                          Alfred S. Mundell
Charles D. Cunningham                                   John J. O'Connell
John H. Donovan                                               Horace O. Parker
Howard J. Foster                                               Robert Patterson
Ernest A. Gratton                                              James M. Pratt Jr.
Leo J. Gratton                                                    Clifford L. Pratt
Ellsworth W. Galvin                                          Royford E. Perry
Paul H. Hazen                                                     Maurice T. Risley
Cliford J. Huyck                                                Arthur R. Stone
Clarence E. Hocum                                            Irving L. Tyler
Gordon G. Jaffray                                             Arthur H. Warfield Jr.
Edward F. King                                                  Frank Woodward
                               The Spanish War 1898
Frank H. Stone                                                   William Bassen

I transcribed these names from a collection of photographs I took on April 2, 2015.
Source for monument information was - Jeffrey H. Fisk, A History of West Brookfield 1675-1990, West Brookfield Historical Commission 2009, pages 172 and 179.