Sunday, July 31, 2011

Clara Eliza (Hamilton) Reed - Born July 31, 1856

Clara Eliza Hamilton was born in West Brookfield on July 31, 1856.  Her parents were Horace Warren Hamilton and Laurinda (Barlow).  Clara graduated from Brookfield High School in 1874 and attended Oread Collegiate Institute of Worcester, according to her obituary published in the Springfield Daily Republican of July 10, 1937 on page 5. 

Clara married Sumner Haynes Reed, the son of Rev. Joel Everett and Serafina (Haynes.) (adopted son of Abel Wheeler Reed.)  The marriage took place in West Brookfield on June 6, 1878, according to Massachusetts Vital Records.  Clara's obituary tells of her prominent role in the Sunday school of the First Congregational church, stating that she held offices both on the local and regional level, and addressed conventions throughout New England.  The obituary goes on to say that she wrote papers for the various clubs and societies to which she belonged, and that she contributed poems and articles to newspapers and magazines.

Clara and Sumner Reed moved to Howard St. in Brookfield sometime between 1910 and 1920.  Clara died there on July 9, 1937 leaving three children.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Helen Stanley Dodge and Raymond Wells Burrington married July 30, 1927

The Springfield Sunday Union, July 31, 1927; page 10A announced the marriage in an article entitled "Helen S. Dodge Weds at West Brookfield: Becomes Bride of Raymond Burrington in Attractive Ceremony."
Details about the ceremony and wedding party, and the attire of the day followed. The announcement went on to relate information about the bride and groom including the education and occupations of each. 

Helen Dodge was the daughter of Herbert Dodge and Annie Ford.  She was born May 18, 1900, in West Brookfield and attended schools in town.  She graduated from Worcester Trade school and attended Post's Business school.  She was employed by Manchester Picadilly company of Springfield. 

Ray Burrington was born in Oct. 15, 1899 in Lunenburg, MA, to Horace and Lulu Genevieve (Rice) Burrington.  The family moved to Amherst where Ray graduated from Amherst High School and attended Massachusetts Agricultural college (now UMass).  He graduated from Michigan State Auto School in 1921, and in 1922 moved to West Brookfield and went to work for Carter's Complete Car Service. Ray, owned and operated  Ray's Service Station in what had been Carter's location on Main Street in town for many years beginning in the mid 1930's.  He was known to have an avid interest in antique automobiles and bicycles, and carried parts to use and sell to others who shared his interests.

Ray and Helen lived out their lives in West Brookfield where they were members of the Congregational Church.  Helen died May 23, 1973 and Ray died June 6, 1992.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Honora (Dillon) Slawson born July 28, 1849

Honora Dillon was born to James and Honora (Liddy) Dillon on July 28, 1849 in West Brookfield.  She was the fifth of nine known children, and the first to be born in the United States.  Her older siblings were born in County Galway, Ireland, and so, most likely were her parents.

Honora married Edward Slawson in May of 1870 and lived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at the time of the 1870 United States Census.  A son Robert D. Slawson was born in Pennsylvania in February 1872.  Sometime between 1880 and 1900 Edward Slawson died.  Honora lived in Easton, PA probably until her son was married and then returned to West Brookfield for a time. She was enumerated in Chicago with her sister Mary in the 1910 census.  Honora returned to Pennsylvania sometime between 1910 and 1920 and lived in Wilson with her sister Mary.  Mary died October 22, 1930, and Honora died July 22, 1936. 

The Easton Area Public Library has an index of newspaper death notices and obituaries which are on microfilm there.  I know from the index that there are newspaper notices for Honora Dillon Slawson, on July 23 and July 25, 1936.  Mary Dillon on Oct. 22 and 24 of 1930, and Robert D. Slawson on Oct. 14,16, and 18th of 1909.  The library will send copies of these notices for a fee of $5 each plus a SASE.  There is no way to know ahead of time what information is contained in these notices.

The index can be found online at and there is a link to a downloadable request form.

Robert Slawson, an electrician, died in East Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Oct. 13, 1909 leaving his wife Sue and two children.  Sue raised the children in Warren County, New Jersey.

I have more information on the family of James and Honora (Liddy) Dillon, and a family contact as well.  I can share what I have if you click on the "Information Request Form" tab at the top of the blog,  fill in the name of the person you have an interest in and your contact info, and submit.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Alfred Dwight Washburn died Martinsburg, West Virginia, July 24, 1864

   Alfred Dwight Washburn was born July 29 , 1819, in the part of Brookfield which became West Brookfield.  His parents were Ezra and Clarissa (Bartlett)Washburn.  He married Eliza Ann Gilbert, daughter of Coleman and Dorothy (Morse) Gilbert, in Brookfield on May 1, 1851.  Three children were known to have been born of this union.
   Alfred mustered in to Co. I of the 34th Massachusetts Infantry on August 2, 1862.  He died of disease in Martinsburg, West Virginia  on July 24, 1864.  His remains were returned to West Brookfield and he was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.  Eliza continued to live in town until her death in June of 1912.
   Daughter Laura Adelaide, married James Carnes in 1873.  Laura died in West Brookfield in 1925. Daughter Etta died in West Brookfield in 1909 at age fifty-one. Son Myron died in infancy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Samuel Gardner Irish, Civil War Veteran, born July 23, 1842

Samuel Gardner Irish was born in Southbridge, MA on July 23, 1842 to Isaac C. and Lucy (Dodge) Irish.  He lived his boyhood years in Southbridge and moved to Brookfield in his late teens.  He worked in the shoe trade until mustering into Co. H of the 21st Massachusetts Infantry on Aug. 5, 1861.  Samuel was wounded in Newbern, North Carolina on March 15, 1862, and suffered a debilitating gun shot wound to the right shoulder at Petersburg, VA on July 30, 1864.  He was mustered out as a Sergeant on 30 Aug. 1864.  His service was credited to the town of Southbridge and his name appears on the monument there.

Samuel married Maria Ann Eaton, daughter of Hiram and Sarah Jane (Kendrick) Eaton on August 6, 1867 in North Brookfield.  The clergyman, J. W. Lewis of Southbridge, also married Samuel's brother Isaac Franklin Irish and Maria's sister Lucy Eaton in a double marriage ceremony.

Samuel and Maria lived in North Brookfield where their daughter Mabel and son Chauncey Franklin were born.  They moved to Lake Street in West Brookfield sometime between 1880 and 1890, and in October of 1895 Maria died of Carcinoma of the Breast at age 51.

Samuel married Maria (Nichols) Morton in West  Brookfield on Nov. 25, 1896 and they continued to live in West Brookfield where Samuel was a Senior Vice Commander of G.A.R. Post 160.  Samuel's eyesight failed considerably and he suffered from heart trouble, fainting spells and dizziness; as well as headaches, during his final year of life.  He died on May 23, 1925 and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.

Samuel's son Chauncey "Frank" Irish married Jospehine Madden, daughter of John Madden and Johanna Daneher, and eventually relocated to Waterbury, Connecticut.  He shortened his last name to Iris and his descendants are known by that name.  Samuel's daughter Mabel married Henry Nelson Smith of North Brookfield, the son of Lemuel anad Cornelia (Nelson) Smith.  Henry was crushed to death by the electric train in Brookfield in 1908 and Mabel eventually moved to Springfield, MA.  Many of Mabel's descendants live in Worcester County today.

Friday, July 22, 2011

John Joseph Mulvey - West Brookfield Fire Chief 1913 - 1916

John Mulvey's July 22, 1868 birth was recorded in West Brookfield Vital Records as John Joseph Mulverhill, son of Peter and Hannah, both born in Ireland. His father, Peter, was a Currier by trade, and a Winter Street property owner, by 1865.

John married Julia McCarthy in North Brookfield on September 13, 1893 and they raised their family of eight children in the family home on Winter St.  John learned the shoe making trade as a young man and later he became a travelling salesman for E. E. Angell Company of Boston. (1900 census lists occupation as provision dealer, 1910 census says travelling salesman - Bank Stamps)  He also worked for the Olmstead Corset company for a time, resigning from his position there in order to return to sales.

Active in the community, Mr. Mulvey was a member of the Quaboag Tribe of Red Men, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  He served the town of West Brookfield as chief of the fire department from 1913 until his death.  He was also just a few months into a three year term as selectman, having been elected in the spring of 1915.  John became ill on Christmas day of 1915 and died of pneumonia on January 7, 1916 at the age of 47.   His obituary appeared in the Springfield Daily Republican on Saturday, January 8, 1916 on page 15.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Miles Cutler Webb - born July 18, 1899

Miles Cutler Webb was born in West Brookfield on July 18, 1899 to John Henry Webb, farmer, born Worcester,  and Carrie Etta (Cutler), born West Brookfield.  He received his education at Worcester Academy, Brown University, and Harvard Business School and returned to West Brookfield to work on the family farm until he found employment with Ware Trust. Co. 

Miles married his wife Gertrude about 1928.  She became the proprietor of Open Hearth Tea House located on East Main St. in what had been the Austin Phelps House, in June of 1929.
Mr. Webb was an Assistant Treasurer for Ware Trust Co. in 1936 and was appointed chairman of the agricultural committee of the Massachusetts Bankers Association.  He retired in August of 1964. Active in town affairs, he served two terms as a selectman in West Brookfield and later served the town as moderator. He died in June 1987.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Charles G. Knowlton died July 14, 1912

Charles Gilman Knowlton was born in Boscawen, Merrimack, New Hamphire on March 9, 1831, to John and Eliza (Burpee) Knowlton.  He married Jane Sholes in Pembroke, Plymouth, MA on March 1, 1860.

Charles' obituary found in the Springfield Daily Republican, Tuesday, July 16, 1912 on page 16, states that he was in the South during the Civil War and was taken prisoner in Brasser City, Louisiana on June 23, 1863 and released on October 21, 1864.  It further states that he was prohibited from returning to the North until five years had elapsed, and that he had spent time in Hempstead, Texas before returning to New England.  This is an interesting tale, and while I have been unable to verify all of the facts, I believe it may be true.

Charles and Jane were enumerated in Pembroke, MA in 1860.  Jane was living in Charlestown, MA with her mother and stepfather Rebecca and Albert Delano at the time of the 1865 Massachusetts Census.  Charles was not a member of that household nor did I find him in the Massachusetts State Census for that year.  I have been able to find birth records for sons Charles Dwight and George Philip Knowlton in Boscawen, New Hampshire in March 1867 and May 1868. These are the oldest known children of Charles and Jane and would indicate that seven years passed between their marriage and the birth of their first born.  Charles could have been in the South anytime between 1860 and 1866 based on my findings thus far.

Two other known children were Jennie, said to have been born in NH about 1872 [no record found] and Frank, who was born in West Brookfield in 1880 and died of Diphtheria in 1888.  The family had moved to West Brookfield between 1870 and 1879 when a local newspaper reported that Charles had launched the steamboat "Emma" on the river for the purpose of transporting picnickers to Brookfield or Podunk.  Mr. Knowlton was remembered as an engineer who was for many years the superintendent at the condensed milk factory in West Brookfield.

Jane (Sholes) Knowlton died in 1890, and Charles married Annie (Fowler) Martin in 1893.

Son Dwight drowned in Lake Wickaboag in 1885, while sailing with a friend. 

George Knowlton married Addie Dockham of Warren in 1890,  and Jennie Knowlton married Denny Livermore of West Brookfield in 1893.

1909 School St. School Photo Added to West Brookfield, MA Genealogy Pages

Ed O'Day contributed his 1909 photograph of the teacher and students of the School St. school in West Brookfield.  It is not necessary to log in to search the site.  Just click on Photos to view the new photo; as well as, other photos on the site.

Photo includes :
1st Row -  George Donovan, Edward O'Day, William Brown, Lillian Clouse, Hazel Anderson, Esther Mulvey, Myrle Dodge
2nd Row - Edmond Smith, Harry Allen, teacher Miss Thurston, Raymond Howe, John Howe, unknown boy (blurred face), unknown boy, Ruth Warfield, Eleanor Reardon, Ralph Buffington, Lizzie Joyce.
3rd Row (on steps) - Agnes Cunningham, Frances Morgan, Wallace Fountain, Emma Tyler
4th Row - Nellie Mulvey, Alice Babbot, Gladys McCurley, Bessie Gilbert. (There's a question mark between McCurley and Gilbert, but I only count four in that row)
5th Row - Burton Mason, Albert Richardson, James Pratt, Clarence Hocum

Working on a short biography of Charles G. Knowlton which I hope to complete sometime today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chamberlain Family Marriages

A marriage announcement in the National Aegis, July 21, 1847, on page 3, read, "Married in this town, July 13, by Rev. George P. Smith, Ephraim Chamberlain to Maria A. McFarland."  Worcester marriage records confirm the information.  Ephraim was born in West Brookfield about 1822, the son of Eli Chamberlain and Achsah Forbes.  He lived in Worcester where he was a farmer. He was a member of the Worcester County Horticultural Society; as well as, the Worcester, and New England Agricultural Societies.  He also served as President of the Tatnuck Benevolent and Literary Association.  Ephraim and Maria had five children including Frederick H. Chamberlain who later become Judge of the Worcester County Probate Court.

Ephraim's sister, Achsah Juliet Chamberlain, married ten years later on July 13, 1857 in Cuyahoga, Ohio, Jared H. Clark.  Juliet and Jared had a daughter Lucy, who married Edward Hayward in Cook County, Illinois in 1887,  and a son Allan.  Juliet may be the Juliet Clark who died in London, England in 1905. (Lucy and her husband lived in England in 1901.)

Ephraim and Achsah Juliet Chamberlain were older siblings of Daniel Henry Chamberlain who was governor of South Carolina in the 1870's.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Edward J. O'Day, born July 11, 1895 was Postmaster for 29 years.

Edward J. "Doc" O'Day, was born in West Brookfield on July 11, to Edmund J. and Theresa (Lynch), O'Day according to town records.  Census records show that he lived on Ware Street in West Brookfield with his parents and three sisters. 

Edward's World War I Draft Registration Card dated June 5, 1917 indicates that he was a Dental Student at that time, in Baltimore, MD.  The 1920 United States Census occupation entry for him is, "Dentist, just graduated." Dentistry, however, may never have been his occupation, as he went to work for the Boston & Albany railroad in the maintenance department by 1930, and was still working for the railroad at the time of his marriage to Grace Mary Dillon.

An account of the wedding of Grace Dillon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dillon of Ware, and Edward J. O'Day, son of Mrs. Theresa O'Day, appeared in the Springfield Daily Republican, March 29, 1932, page 17.   "Grace Dillon Marries West Brookfield Man"  The marriage took place on March 28 at All Saints church in Ware.  Other articles on the page tell of a strong Northeaster that day with heavy snow and blizzard-like conditions.  The couple had planned a honeymoon trip to Canada which I understand they never took.

Doc was appointed Postmaster in West Brookfield, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1936 after four years of unemployment except on the town roads.  (He had lost his job with the railroad shortly after his marriage in 1932.) He was Postmaster for twenty-nine years until his retirement in July of 1965.  His wife, and sometimes his son,  also worked in the Post Office. 

Obituaries of West Brookfield residents often mentioned Edward  O'Day as a pall bearer.  Tall and distinguished in appearance, he also always owned a nice automobile in which the bereaved family members might ride.  I imagine many families called upon his generosity in their time of need.

Doc died in Mary Lane Hospital on January 7, 1971.  His obituary appeared the next day in the Springfield Union.  Grace continued to live in the home they had shared on Main St. until 2001.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Massacre of the Haymakers - July 10, 1710

The West Brookfield Historical Commission web site is being revised .  The story of the surprise attack by Indians on six men making hay in the meadow is not available as of 4/26/2014, but hopefully will be soon.

Here is the link for Biographies of the men involved.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Catherine Gallivan born July 9, 1879

Catherine (sometimes Katherine or Kate) Gallivan, born July 9, 1879 in West Brookfield, was the youngest known child of John T. Gallivan, born County Kerry, Ireland, and Catherine Harrington, born in West Brookfield.. She died in Providence Hospital in Holyoke on July 30, 1950 and was buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery in West Brookfield.  Her obituary found on page 20 of the Springfield Union published July 31, 1950 states that she was educated in West Brookfield schools, later attended Worcester Teachers College, and taught school in West Brookfield for many years.  1900 census records do not have an occupation for Catherine, but census records from 1910, 1920 and 1930 indicate that she worked in the corset industry as a book keeper and later a time clerk.  Further research is needed to determine if and when she worked as a school teacher.  This information might be found in old town report from West Brookfield which may be found in the Merriam Gilbert Public Library.  Another place to search would be old school records from town which may be located somewhere in the town hall.  I will have to add this to my list of things to check on.  Perhaps someone from town would be willing to check for me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Harriet Amelia Chamberlain White - born July 7, 1820

Harriet Chamberlain, born on Elm Knoll Farm in West Brookfield on July 7, 1820 was one of ten children born to Eli and Achsah (Forbes) Chamberlain.  She survived all of  her siblings including Daniel Henry Chamberlain, one time governor of South Carolina, and the Rev. Dr. Leander T. Chamberlain, a learned and influential Congregational minster.

Harriet married Samuel Newell White, a school teacher,  Feb. 24, 1843, [ Massachusetts Marriages 1633 - 1850,] and moved to Amherst, MA where the couple's their first four children were born. The family returned to the White family farm (now Salem Cross Inn)  in West Brookfield sometime between 1850 and 1852. Five more children were born in West Brookfield. Harriet was a member of the Congregational Church in town where her husband served as a deacon, and was probably active in the local grange and the West Brookfield Farmers' Club, which her brother Lyman Chamberlain had helped to organize.
Harriet, the town's oldest resident, died in her husband's ancestral home in West Brookfield on March 24, 1916.  She was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.  Only three daughters survived her including Alice who taught school in town until age 70, and Grace who had been the 1880 census taker,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Roy Smith born July 5, 1890

Roy Smith, son of Henry Nelson Smith and Mabel Idelle (Irish) was born in West Brookfield on July 5, 1890 according to his World War I and World War II Draft Registration Cards found at, and also the record of his marriage to Annie Eliza Dickinson.  The record of his birth does not appear in West Brookfield vital records available at, but perhaps there is an amended record.  His marriage to Annie Eliza Dickinson in Putnam, CT on June 1, 1910 was recorded in Worcester where they both lived and worked. (Worcester Vital records Vol. 596: Page 515)  Two children were born of this union - a daughter Arline born March 7, 1911, and a son LeRoy P.,born in March 16, 1915.  Roy and Annie divorced probably by 1920, and Roy married Florence (Anger) Holden sometime between 1930 and 1942.

Roy worked in the food and beverage business for many years, managing diners in Worcester, and North Attleboro.  He owned the City Line Diner in Worcester in 1942 at the time of his World War II Draft Registration. He died Dec. 13, 1961 in Attleboro, MA and was buried in Hope Cemetery in Worcester.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who knew Roy, or who might have family photos, or photos of the diners where he worked.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Robert Emmet Ducey and Florence Irene Allen married July 2, 1917 in Thorndike

Robert Emmet Ducy was born March 5, 1884 in West Brookfield, the son of John J. Ducey and Mary Ann Welch.  Robert became a steam fitter and a master plumber.  He and his brother Edward owned and operated Ducy Brothers' Plumbing.

Robert married Florence Irene Allen on July 2, 1917 in the Thorndike section of Palmer, MA. Flossie was the daughter of William and Jane (Nimmens) Allen and was born in Ware, MA on June 7, 1893 according to town birth records. Three sons and a daughter were born to this union, most likely in Thorndike where the family lived.

The 1941 obituary of Robert's brother Edward indicates that Robert and family had moved to Manchester, CT.  Since the family was enumerated in Thorndike in 1930, we know the time period of the move to have been between 1930 and 1941.

Robert died August 1, 1955 in Los Angeles, California where he had been a plumbing contractor and a member of the Congregational Church. His obituary stated that he had moved there in 1946.  Florence died Dec. 28, 1966 also in Los Angeles County, California.



Friday, July 1, 2011

John J. Ducey and Mary Ann Welch married July 1, 1882 in North Brookfield, MA

John J. Ducey, son of John Ducey and Ann Meehan, and Mary Ann Welch, daughter of James Welch and Catherine Moran, were married in North Brookfield, Massachusetts on July 1, 1882 by C. M. Foley, Catholic Priest, St. Joseph's Church. 

John and Mary Ann lived on Church St. in West Brookfield and raised a family of 12 or 13 children.  John, like his father was a Boot Maker.  The area of town where they lived was sometimes referred to by West Brookfield folks, as "Gahway" because many of the inhabitants had come to the United States from County Galway, Ireland.  John and Mary Ann Welch both claimed West Brookfield as their place of birth, and although no birth records have been found, it was likely true since both families were living in town when John and Mary were born.

Mary Ann's father, James was most likely born in Ballinakill, Queens County, Ireland.  A Welch family researcher has evidence of the marriage of James' parents and the baptisms of some of his siblings there.  John Ducey's father, came from County Waterford, Ireland, according to his naturalization papers.  His mother, Ann, was also Irish, but I have been unable to discover more about her origins thus far.

My husband is a descendant of John and Mary Ann Ducey, and I have over the past 12 years, collected a great deal of information about them, their ancestors and their descendants, some of whom are living in West Brookfield today.  I am always willing to share my research and love to hear from folks with similar interests.
A family tree with information on the Ducey and Welch families is located at