Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Peter and Hannah Mulvey

This photo was taken in 2009.  I returned to Sacred Heart Cemetery in West Brookfield in September 2010 and found that the columns and the top of the monument were missing.  I do not know the circumstances under which the monument changed.

More information on the family of Peter and Hannah Ford Mulvey is available at http://westbrookfieldgenealogy.org/Genealogy/
The site may be searched without a login.  Anyone interested in copies of family obituaries is urged to click on the Information Request Form tab above, and submit the form with the name Mulvey and your contact information.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Charles Ernest Bell and Thelma A. Allen - married August 20, 1936

Springfield Daily Republican, Springfield, Mass., Friday, August 21, 1936
"Miss Thelma Allen Weds Charles Bell"
"West Brookfield, August 20 - Miss Thelma A. Allen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Helen[sic], and Charles Ernest Bell, son of Mrs. Charles Bell, were married this afternoon at the home of the groom on Myrick street.  The double ring service was performed by Rev. Oliver S. Weise, pastor of the First Congregational church, assisted by Rev. J. Howard Gaylord, pastor of the Congregational church at New Braintree.  The wedding march was played by Mrs. William Richardson."
"The bride was attended by her sister, Mrs. Permelia Froton, and the best man was George H. Bell, brother of the groom.  The bride wore white crepe with hat to match.  the matron of honor wore pink crepe with matching hat.  Both carried arm bouquets of roses."
"The couple left for a wedding trip to Niagara Falls.  On their return they will be at home in the Bell home on Myrick street.  Miss Helen[sic] has been bookkeeper at the Quaboag Roofing company.  She is a member of the Congregational church and the Grange.  Mr. Bell is employed at the Warren Steam Pump company.  He is chairman of the town Republican committee."

Thelma and Ernest lived in the home on Myrick street and raised two daughters there.  Mr. Bell could sometimes be observed tending to bee hives which he kept on the property.  Ernest was an accountant at Warren Steam Pump company for thirty-seven years.  He also was a deacon emeritus in the Congregational church, and served the town as a member of both the School Committee and the Board of Registrars.  Thelma served for a time as town tax collector.  For eighteen years, she was clerk of the West Brookfield Water Department.  She was an active member of the Congregational church and  the American Legion Auxiliary. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Miss Bertha May Henshaw, born Aug. 19, 1899 - School Teacher

Bertha May Henshaw was born in West Brookfield on August 19, 1899.  Her parents were David Forbes Henshaw, a West Brookfield farmer, and his wife Nellie (Lawrence.)   Bertha graduated from West Brookfield Grammar School in 1913, and Warren High School in 1917. She was a graduate of Westfield State College.  She taught at the Thorndike Street School in Palmer in 1929.  Sometime before 1937 Bertha began teaching in West Brookfield at the Milk Street School.  She served as Principal in that school, while continuing to teach,  beginning in the fall of 1938 and ending in the 1950's.  She taught at West Brookfield Elementary School, which replaced the Milk St. and School St. Schools in the spring of 1953, until her retirement in 1964.

I remember that Miss Henshaw, during her years at West Brookfield Elementary School, taught first grade.  She guided us as we learned to read, using the "Look -See" method, and taught us simple arithmetic using little green wooden cubes called "counters."  She had a pair of gray wool slacks which she wore outside at recess in the winter time, and was the only woman that I knew to wear slacks in the mid 1950's. 

Bertha was active in the Congregational Church in town, and a member of the local senior citizens group.  She died in Quaboag Nursing Home on March 2, 1990.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Edna Mae (Allen) Nelson born Aug. 18, 1887

Edna Mae Allen was born in West Brookfield on August 18, 1887.  Her parents were George E. and Nellie Jane (Spear) Allen.  Edna attended West Brookfield schools, and in 1910, was a member of the first graduation class of the Worcester Art Museum [sic] according to her obituary.

In 1917, Edna married Arthur Nelson, a Methodist minister who was almost thirty years her senior.  Arthur died in Orange, MA in January1920 after becoming ill from Ptomaine poisoning.  Edna returned to West Brookfield where she was active in the Methodist church. She also worked as a dressmaker. 

Edna and her sister Nettie (Allen) Woodward were very often seen together in town.  They, along with Nettie's step-daughter Winifred Woodward,  were easily recognized wearing their fur coats when the season for such attire had passed for most.

Edna died in Northampton on August 7, 1979 at the age of 92.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - E. Pearl Burgess

I subscribe to a blog called Geneabloggers which helps me keep up with blogs written by and for family history researchers.  Among the features of Geneabloggers are Daily Blogging Prompts which are suggested themes for bloggers to try.  One of these prompts is Amanuensis Monday which provides encouragement for family history bloggers to transcribe materials related to their research.  It was originally the suggestion of John Newmark on his Transylvanian Dutch blog.  Each Monday, when I read this prompt, I am reminded of the following document, some of which I thankfully transcribed before it became brittle and disintegrated.

St. Stephen's Collage
  E. Pearl Burgess has completed the regular course of study and practice prescribed in this Institution and upon a proper examination has been found to be a competent Stenographic Amanuensis and Typewriter Operator and as such she is commended to the favorable consideration of the business community.
December 19, 1913
[The wording of the body is exact; however, I am not certain as to the format of the lines and the placement of the title and date.] 

Edna Pearl Burgess was born in Little Ridge, Charlotte County, New Brunswick on March 26, 1891.  She was the daughter of Isaac Porter Burgess and his second wife Lucy Anne Blakeley.  Pearl joined two older brothers and six older half-siblings in the household.  Two younger brothers and three younger sisters were born into the family in subsequent years. 

Pearl attended St. Stephen's Collage in New Brunswick and completed the course of study there.  I have often wondered how it was that she was able to go to college, as her mother had died in 1907,  leaving six children between the ages of six and sixteen still at home.    Her education was to serve her well in life, although I do not know if she ever gained employment in New Brunswick. 

Pearl followed the example of her older brothers and came to Massachusetts in 1916.  She married Clarence Stanley Lyman in Athol the following year.  Clarence and Pearl began their married life in Athol and moved to Hardwick a few years later.  They operated a poultry farm in Hardwick, from which Clarence had an egg delivery route.  He also sold and delivered wood and ice.  In 1938, the Hardwick property became a part of the Quabbin Reservoir Watershed, and the couple moved to West Brookfield.

Once established on Church St. in West Brookfield, Clarence operated an oil delivery business in addition to his ice route.  The business office, in the dining room of their home, was Pearl's domain.  She answered the telephone, saying "Hello Lymanoil," and kept the financial records using a double pointed accounting pencil with a red point on one end, and a blue point on the other.  Shoe boxes full of receipts, placed in envelopes and bound in rubber bands, were kept on shelves.  I never saw her use shorthand or operate a typewriter, however.  Pearl often shared her business college wisdom with her grandchildren.  Most often this came in the form of lectures regarding the importance of one's physical appearance.  Hair was never to be so long as to completely cover the forehead, as one's intelligence could be judged by the appearance of his countenance.  "Beatle" length haircuts and short skirts of the 1960's were also of some concern.

Clarence Lyman died in October of 1960, and Pearl and her youngest son, Gordon, continued to operate C.S. Lyman and Sons, Inc., for a few years afterward.  Pearl died in September of 1970.

Clarence and Pearl Lyman
They lived in Hardwick but mailing address was Ware.

Edna Pearl Burgess Lyman

Monday, August 8, 2011

Josephine (Madden) Irish born August 8, 1879

Josephine Madden was born Johanna Madden on August 8, 1879 in West Brookfield. [West Brookfield Vital Records]  Her parents were John Madden, born in Ireland, and his second wife Johanna Daneher, born probably in Roxbury, MA.

Josephine married Frank (Chauncey Franklin) Irish, son of Samuel and Maria (Eaton) Irish, in Brookfield on November 27, 1901.  Frank worked at the Fishing Rod factory in town and Josephine was a stitcher.

Sometime after the birth of their first son, Harold, in August of 1903, the family moved to Connecticut, living first in Canaan, and eventually settling in Waterbury. Josephine died 17 September 1939 in Waterbury,  leaving her husband and three children.  She is buried in Calvary Cemetery, in Waterbury.

[The maiden name of Josephine's mother, Johanna Danaher Madden,  is found in the records to have many variations, including Donahan, Danahar, and possibly Donbar.  Her parents were John and Bridget (Cunningham) Danaher, and I believe they arrived in the United States shortly before Johanna's birth, although I have located no birth record to date.  Johanna is sometimes found as Joanna on census records in Roxbury and later in Marlborough.]

Further information on the Madden and Irish families may be found in my online database which is linked to

Friday, August 5, 2011

Walter Potter and Mary Elizabeth Pratt - Married August 5, 1904

Walter Herbert Potter, son of Augustus N. and Mary (Sampson) Potter, and Mary Elizabeth Pratt, daughter of Austin W. and Elizabeth (McArdell) Pratt, were married at the home of the groom's parents, in West Brookfield, on August 5, 1904 by Rev. Leonard L. Beeman.  The marriage was announced in the August 8, 1904 edition of the Springfield Daily Republican.

Walter worked for the Standard Fishing Rod Company at the time of the marriage and Mary was "at home." [probably with her grandmother Ruth Pratt]  A son Herman was born in 1909. 

Walter was a foreman in a toy factory by the time of the 1910 census and was still doing that work in 1920.  The 1930 census gives his occupation as a painter of buildings, and his 1942 World War II Draft Registration gives his employer as Mc Laurin Jones Company of Brookfield.  He conducted his own business as an interior decorator for 30 years and was a member of the West Brookfield Fire Department, according to his obituary published in 1968.

Mary died in January of 1982 according to the Massachusetts Death Index.  I have been unable to find an obituary.

A possible note of interest  - Mary's father, Austin Wellington Pratt, was also known as "Hobo Kelly."  Newspaper articles from the 1920's describe him as a colorful character and story teller who rode the rails across country and back, and was occasionally jailed or committed to state hospitals.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wladyslaw Mazur and Emelia Furgal married August 3, 1909 in Warren, MA

Walter Mazur, born July 1, 1884 in Slupiec, Galicia, Austria and Emelia Elizabeth Furgal, born 18 September 1888 in Lubacz, Austria were married in Warren, MA on August 3, 1909.  They raised four children in Warren and divorced sometime between 1920 and 1930.

Emelia married Edward Albert Buss in Gardner, MA on 1 July 1942.  She owned a home on Lake Wickaboag in West Brookfield where family gatherings were held.

 Emelia died on 20 June 1961 in Norfolk, MA and was survived by her sons Lewis and Daniel, and daughter Wanda Laplante. She also left a brother Frank, and sister Stephania Motyka of Warren, and a brother John of Pittsfield.  She was predeceased by half-brother Anton Laska of Warren, sister Mary (Furgal) Smith of Newport, NH, and brother Michael Furgal of Monson, MA.

Walter died in Pittsfield, MA on 10 March 1947. He was survived by three of his four children. (A son, Roman, died in 1936 as the result of a work related accident.) He was also survived by his sister Mary (Mazur) Zion of Bridgewater, MA and was most likely survived by his father, Stanislaw Mazur,  of Slupiec, Poland. He may have also had surviving half-siblings in Poland.

  1. Copy of Marriage Record for Amelia Elizabeth Mazur and Edward Albert Buss
  2. Copy of Record of Marriage for Wladyslaw Mazure and Amelia Furgal
  3. Death Record - Emelia Elizabeth Buss (nee Furgal) [extraction from V 78 P 377 Registration # 4840]
  4. Massachusetts Vital Records : (http://www.americanancestors.org.). Birth and Marriage records for family members
  5. Obituaries from Berkshire Evening Eagle, Spencer Leader and Springfield Daily Republican for family members.
  6. Poland, Tarnow Roman Catholic Diocese Church Books, 1612-1900 - (baptisms from     familysearch.org: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XP12-1RQ       and https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XP12-1RQ)
  7. "Roman P. Mazur Dies at Hospital," 15 May 1936, Page 16, Column 2; Genealogy Bank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 28 July 2018.). Obituary of Roman P Mazur, Springfield Daily Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts, online images (http://www.genealogybank.com).

      Updated 20 April 2019.