Saturday, July 30, 2022

Search the Massachusetts Historical Commission Website for Photos and Information on West Brookfield Homes

 The Massachusetts Historical Commission has a marvelous website. You can find photos and information about historic properties throughout the commonwealth.  The main page to this site has a Learn & Research section.  Click on "Search MACRIS Database," and you will see Search Filters on the left hand side of the page. You may search by town from by clicking on the first option.  There are 346 listings for West Brookfield when you select West Brookfield. Information provided includes a complete property description including location, architectural style, year building was built, and whether or not any there have been any renovations. One may also learn who owned the property, what it was used for and its significance in the community.  All the information is available to download. This is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in the West Brookfield homes and their history.

Sunday, May 29, 2022


All honor to the heroes true,

  And to the warriors brave,

Who nobly fought and nobly died,

 America to save .

 To save our grand old Union's strength,

             To save her honor, too, 

To save our loved old stars and stipes, 

  And all that's good and true. 

To save our land from slavery's rule. 

 That killeth like a blight,

And let her stand forth strong and brave

 For God and for the right. 

When we recall the cruel war,

 The perils dark and dread,

From which our land and homes were saved,

 By these our honored dead. 


 With bated breath we sing their praise,

  And give them honor due,

And say again with thankful hearts,

 God Bless the boys in blue. 


About the author - Clara Hamilton Reed was born in West Brookfield.  She was the granddaughter of Alanson Hamilton for whom West Brookfield's G.A. R. Post was named.  She was well known for her work in the church; as well as, for her numerous published short stories which appeared in newspapers and magazines of her time.



Grand Army of the Republic : Department of Massachusetts: Personal War Sketches of the Members of Alanson Hamilton Post No. 160 West Brookfield; type written copy of poem, and newspaper clipping of the obituary of  Clara Hamilton Reed; online images, Brookfields Research ( : accessed 29 May 2021.) Compiler - Grace D.Wilbur, Clerk of G.A.R.; Copyright 1890 by Louis Everts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Update 10 December  2022       

Updated Link  Quabog Research   Look under Military Resources











Friday, April 1, 2022

West Brookfield in the 1950 Census

Today the National Archives released the 1950 Population Schedule for public viewing on  the archives' website . Indexing has been done using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and thus, there are errors in this index right now.  Users are encouraged to take advantage of the abilty to add corrected information so that the index will improve over time with use. The index may be searched under name, location, and/or Enumeration District Number.  West Brookfield had two enumeration districts in 1950.  They are 14-438 which includes the village area, and  14- 439 encompacing the surrounding outlying areas. 

The first image of District 14-438 is an adminstrators page showing who the enumerators were (Ralph Barrows led the team,) and the count for the district.  There were 1070 individuals living in 454 dwelling units in this district. The following pages named the individuals living in town, their realtionship to others in the household, ages, birthplaces, occupations and earnings, and military status. Ralph Barrows began Sheet No. 1 on April 1, 1950 listing his own household and continuing down Church Street to the home of Clarence Lyman, He covered some of Lake St., Crescent Avenue and Myrick St.  I searched Clarence Lyman and I scrolled down to the bottom of the page to get

Machine Learning (AI) Extracted Names *

  • Barrowz RalehP
  • Betriced
  • pen
  • KennethW
  • 200: many a
  • Lyman clarence it
  • Eana
  • and
  • Gordan P
  • ambrose allen E
  • axne F
  • Ambrose allergic
  • 200: Fahre G
  • 200: Elfreda W
  • 1: Raymond Rr.
  • 100: no one home Ss
  • Smith Clarence a
  • ShermanH
  • Pearl m
  • Elizabeth J
  • mergaret a
  • Syle a
  • Lance
  • Everett W
  • William J
  • nellic T
  • Ruth E
You can see that there are errors in this index and this is why the site has added the ability to add a correct transcription.

The first image of District 14-439 is the adminstrators page showing Owen H. Cuddy as enumerator.  Sheet No. 1 begins on the Brookfield Road with the Norman Laughrey household followed by Henry Hope and his family. There are 29 images for this district.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Genealogybank adds Worcester Evening Gazette Issues From January 1930 - December 1940

 Genealogybank, a paid newspaper website, has recently added 1930-1940 issues of the Worcester Evening Gazette to its "Newspaper Archives"  Collection. This is a welcome addition for those of us who research Worcester County families. I was able to find some obituaries for West Brookfield residents, that I was unable to find in the Springfield Newspapers already available at GenealogyBank, or in the Spencer Leader files on the Brookfield Resources site. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Will of Cornelius McKenney of West Brookfield, Massachusetts

This is my transcription of a typewritten copy of the will of Cornelius McKenney. Note that the name  is spelled McKenney in the title of the will, but MacKenney in the body.  It appears also that the typist may have underlined the word my which should have been the word may, and also the words and, which should have been any, and off, which should have been of.

Worcester County Probate Court
Case No. 30318 - Will
[Page 381]

Cornelius McKenney
Know all men by these presents, that I, Cornelius MacKenney of West Brookfield, in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts being in good health and of sound and disposing mind and memory do make this my last will, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.

1st. I hereby constitute and appoint my wife Catherine MacKenney to be sole executrix of this my last will hereby directing my said executrix to pay all of my just debts and funeral expenses out of my estate & then to receive the residue of my estate as hereinafter named.

I request that my said executrix be not required to furnish and surety upon such bond as the Probate Court my require when appointing her to said trust.

2d. After the payment of my said debts and funeral expenses I give and devise and bequeath unto my said wife the use and income of all the rest and residue of my estate to have and to hold the same for and during the remainder of her natural life.

3d. All of my estate may and shall be held in trust by my said wife, and in case the said use and income, shall in the judgment of said wife, be insufficient for her proper support, then and in such case, she may sell and convey have and use any part or portion of my estate both principal and income for her proper support all in manner and way she may or shall deem best.

And I desire and will that all such part of my estate as may or shall remain unexpended by my said wife for her proper support shall at her decease, be given to those who are then my next of kin in equal division.

4th. In making this will, I do not forget my two children, viz: my son James

[page 382]

and my daughter Catherine, but desire that my estate be disposed off per the parts of this my last will herein marked "2d" and "3d" and in no other way.

In witness of the above, I hereto set my hand this twenty first day of May in the year one thousand nine hundred and two.


Signed, published and declared by the above named Cornelius MacKenney as and for is last will in the presence of each of us who in his presence and at his request have subscribed these presents as witnesses hereto.
Cornelius   + MacKenney
E. J. Mooney                  3
Joseph Mcevoy  Witnesses
Peter Langton    necessary

Will allowed July 28, 1902

A true record,

Attest: George H. Harlow [signature]

Source : Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991, >Worcester Probate Records >Vols. 577-580> images 451-452 of 1068 > 1902, Case 30318, Stamped pages No. 381 - 382. Ancestry ( : accessed 10 May 2020.)  [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Massachusetts County, District and Probate Courts.Typewritten copy of the Will of Cornelius McKenney.

A Glimpse Into Merriam Family Bible

Recently this Bible was purchased by a genealogist from West Brookfield who very graciously shared digital copies of the Title Page, the Family Register, and some lose items found within its pages.
Title Page from Bible of Ebenezer Merriam
Digital copy from D Hamilton Files. Received  15 April 2020
Used with permission.

The publishers information below has been slightly enlarged. The year shown is 1803


The Family Register entries appear to have been written by at least two different people, with the earliest birth date Dec. 15, 1777, and the latest death date April 9, 1894.

             The loose items found in the Bible included:

  • A receipt in the amount of $.25 dated November 28, 1855, from the Western Railroad Corporation for transporting apples. 
  • A list of ministers of the West Brookfield Congregational Church from the years 1717-1871 clipped from a newspaper.
  • Two clipped different newspaper obituaries of Capt. E. P. Merriam
  • A printed copy of a poem from Charles Merriam to his cousin Ebenezer Parsons Merriam of West Brookfield on his 69th Birthday November 16, 1873

You may be interested in an earlier post on the Merriam Family Ebenezer Merriam - Printer


Saturday, May 9, 2020

Will of Hiram Eaton of North Brookfield, Massachusetts

Hiram Eaton was born in Meltonville, Vermont in 1819.  His parents were Sylvanus Eaton and Olive Taylor.  Hiram was enumerated in the 1850 census in West Brookfield, Massachusetts along with his wife, Sarah Kendrick and their three daughters, Maria Ann, Lucy L., and Abbie Jane. Maria Ann married Samuel Gardner Irish on 6 August 1867.  Lucy married Samuel's brother Isaac Franklin Irish on that same day. Abbie had married Dwight Bowen in February of that same year.

Hiram's wife Sarah Kendrick died in 1873, and in 1881 he married Mrs. Clarissa (Stebbins) Chamberlain.  Clarissa survived Hiram, who died February 1, 1903,  Daughters Lucy and Abbie survived him, as well.  Maria predeceased her father in 1895.

Hiram Eaton's Last Will and Testament is transcribed below.

Photocopy received from Worcester County Probate Court
Worcester County Massachusetts
Case No. 31365, Series B 1903

Hiram Eaton Case No. 31365 Series B
Know all man by these presents
that I Hiram Eaton of North Brookfield in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts being of sound disposing mind and memory do make this my Last Will and Testament - to wit;
First I Give devise and bequeath to my daughter Lucy L. Irish the wife of Frank Irish now residing in the city of Brockton Massachusetts, my entire Farm situated in the south
easterly part of said North Brookfield, continuing now about 50 acres of land with Buildings thereon:
Also to said Lucy L. Irish all the Farming Tools, carriages, and other implements about or upon the premises Also all the Live stock and household Furniture which I shall
own at the time of my decease
Second To my daughter Abbie now the widow of Dwight W Bowen deceased the sum of twenty five dollars ($25.)
Third I hereby constitute and appoint my said daughter Lucy L. Irish executrix of this my Last Will
[page 2]
and Testament, and I request that she shall not be required to furnish sureties upon her official bond as such Executrix
In Witness whereof I have signed, Sealed and published and declared this my Last Will and Testament at North Brookfield aforesaid this eighth day of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety nine (Apr 8 1899)
Hiram Eaton
The said Hiram Eaton at said North Brookfield on said 8th day of April AD 1899 signed and sealed this instrument and published and declared the same as and for his Last Will and Testament.
And we at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto written our names as subscribing witnesses
George A Haradon
Sarah A Knight
Hiram Knight

[The full name of the husband of Lucy L. Irish was Isaac Franklin Irish. George Haradon, a witness to the will was a brother-in law of Isaac Franklin Irish. Hiram's widow, Clarissa Stebbins Eaton is not mentioned in the will but listed in a list of heirs on another document in the file. Clarissa was a resident of Worcester Insane Hospital at the time of the 1900 US Census.]