Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Now on YouTube! - Beauregard Brothers in their Nineties, Relate Stories of Growing up on Ragged Hill

   Rachel Faugno interviews Paul and Bob Beauregard as they share their experiences as part of a large family growing up on a farm in West Brookfield. Paul died on January 2, 2017, just weeks after this interview. Their parents, Joseph and Ida (Provencal) Beauregard moved to West Brookfield from Gilbertville in 1906.  The Beauregards first leased the 235 acre farm on Ragged Hill belonging to Henry Jordan. They purchased it in 1911.  Ida Beauregard sold the farm in 1945, three years after the death of her husband.
      Learn about their chores on the farm, and their schooling in the one room school house they attended in the days before they had electricity and running water.  Listen to their description of social life in Wickaboag Valley including barn dances in their barn, and programs held by the Wickaboag Valley Association. They describe entertainment including swimming in the pond in summer, and sliding down the hill in winter.
   Paul sadly recalls the accidental drowning of his sister Elsie who, at age six,  had been sliding across an ice covered pond on her shoes. She was accompanied that day by Paul, and a sister Edna.
   Tools used by their father for leather work were shown, as they talked about the necessity in those days for being resourceful.
   See the video filmed in October 2016, by Dan Hamilton and Warren Tirrell, at: Ragged Hill Memories of Paul and Robert Beauregard
   For more about the Beauregard family see

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thomas Carey - From West Brookfield to Chicago

The broad ax. (Salt Lake City, Utah), 04 Jan. 1919. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. a( : accessed 12 January 2017.)
Thomas Carey was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts to poor Irish immigrants. He moved with his family to Worcester, MA between 1860 and 1870, and attended school there according to the 1870 US Census. Thomas left Worcester and travelled by rail to Chicago, Illinois, where despite his humble beginnings, he became a successful businessman and politician. Known for his hard work and dogged determination, he became a skilled politician, advocate for African Americans and immigrants, and a champion for the causes of poor and downtrodden. Michael Harrington, who descends from Thomas Carey's half-brother, has very kindly offered to share this tale of an Irishman from West Brookfield who became successful and added color to the political landscape in Chicago.
Find his work at Tom Carey - Chief of the Wampanoag


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Finding Baptism and Marriage Records for West Brookfield Catholics from 1830-1950

  Years ago Ed O'Day wrote to me about the challenges of finding church records for West Brookfield Catholics. This information has been helpful in my research and may be helpful to others.
St. John's Catholic Church, Worcester, MA
By Pvmoutside - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
  West Brookfield did not have a Roman Catholic Parish of its own until 1950.  The Catholics in town were served by priests from other areas, some of whom visited West Brookfield and recorded baptisms and marriages.  One priest in particular, Father Fitton, who founded Holy Cross College in Worcester,  kept records of his visits in town.  He was succeeded by Father Gibson, who first visited West Brookfield in 1845, and continued his missions to the town even after railroad construction ceased.  Father Gibson recorded baptisms is a special book he kept for rural areas in the county.
   Early Brookfield area baptisms and marriages from about the mid 1830's to the mid 1850's, may be found in the parish records of St. John's in Worcester. Records for a few of the ensuing years may be found in Webster or Chicopee, as the priests from those communities ministered to Catholics in the rural areas of Worcester County. 1860 brought another change, as priests from St. Mary's in Ware administered the sacraments.  St. Joseph's in North Brookfield took over that responsibility from 1867 to 1892.  Finally, in 1892 St. Mary's Church in Brookfield became responsible for ministering to Catholics in West Brookfield.  Priest's from St. Mary's continued to serve West Brookfield parishioners until 1950.

Monday, November 28, 2016

John Adams, William Adams, George Adams, and Justus Wellington: West Brookfield Civil War Soldiers

"John Banks' Civil War Blog," has a new interesting post about three brothers from West Brookfield who served in the Civil War.  William and George Adams, both died as a result of wounds suffered in battle.  John Adams was captured, sent to the Rebel prison at Andersonville, and survived five months of imprisonment before being paroled and later discharged.
Read his post here.
Also read his post about Justus Wellington, another soldier from West Brookfield. Justus Wellington died at Antietam.

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.)